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Socialtext Joins Peoplefluent HCM Product Family

Socialtext adds a social layer to Peoplefluent products and gets funding to market itself more aggressively.

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The technology investment fund Bedford Funding is buying Socialtext and making the social collaboration software company part of the Peoplefluent family of products, which revolve around recruiting, training, and the category known as Human Capital Management.

Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee said his company will continue to compete in the enterprise social networking market as an independent subsidiary, but it will also provide a social software layer to make other products in the Peoplefluent suite work better together.

Although Bedford Funding announced the transaction as a "strategic investment," Lee confirmed the firm has in fact bought Socialtext outright. "They are now our only investor. In addition, they are providing a considerable amount of cash as working capital set aside for operational growth."

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Bedford created Peoplefluent from a series of acquisitions, including Peopleclick and Authoria in talent management and more recently Strategia for online training. The business was renamed Peoplefluent last June and began investing in extensions for mobile users. Now, Peoplefluent is rounding out its portfolio with social collaboration, following somewhat the same strategy as Saba, with its People Cloud enterprise social network, linked to a suite of training and capital management tools.

Socialtext was one of the first enterprise wiki products and has since expanded to support a broader set of social collaboration features. It could point to happy customers such as The Motley Fool but for the most part chose not to go toe-to-toe with players like Jive and IBM in competition for major enterprise accounts.

Instead, Socialtext as an independent company was positioning itself as an easy-to-implement solution for small to midsize businesses.

That might start to change, because one of the things Peoplefluent brings to this marriage is a base of more than 5,000 enterprise customers, Lee said.

As an independent company, Socialtext had been following a slow, steady path and was profitable on an operating basis, Lee said. Now, now it will be able to get more aggressive, he said. "We're all gassed up and ready to go."

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

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