By David Sims
David at firstcoffee d*t biz
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is… well, I’d really rather not say, I… (“Come on, it’s okay, you’re among friends.”) Yeah, but some things are embarrassing to share publicly, you know? I mean it was high school and all, and, you know… (“Dave, you need to be honest here, we all have musical taste we’re not that proud of, go ahead and share, you’ll feel better.”) Well, okay, the music is Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. (“Meatloaf? Bat Out of Hell? You can’t be serious! Hey Brad, didja hear what this maroon’s listening to…”):
Bay Partners, a Silicon Valley-based early stage venture capital firm and Salesforce.com have announced the official launch of a new program designed to “fund companies building business applications on Salesforce.com’s Force.com platform,” according to Bay officials.
Bessemer Venture Partners will also participate in the program in collaboration with Bay Partners, and independently evaluate investments. The program will target investments of at least $500,000 each, totaling approximately $25 million over the next three years to assist startups and young companies embracing Platform-as-a-Service.
Neil Sadaranganey, Partner at Bay Partners, said “wherever there are killer platforms, there exist huge opportunities for killer apps built on those platforms.” He noted that they have portfolio companies such as Eloqua and Xactly on Salesforce, and “we expect the same for applications and companies built on the Force.com platform.”
The new program focuses on early stage funding for companies that have built business applications on the Force.com platform. Force.com delivers Platform-as-a-Service, a way to create and deploy business applications. Bay officials say their new program helps startups “transform great on-demand applications into great on-demand companies.”
“We share a common vision with Bay Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners that Platform-as-a-Service has fundamentally changed the landscape for business applications,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com. “Under the traditional software model, entrepreneurs and startups have had to deal with the burden of infrastructure before they can begin developing their ideas.”
In the new program, Salesforce.com will now work closely with Bay and Bessemer in an advisory capacity. As Bay and Bessemer select applications and businesses built on the Force.com platform, Salesforce.com will provide background and be available to assist in due diligence. Salesforce.com will provide design review, packaging and distribution best practices, and certification consultation for companies building applications on the Force.com platform and delivering them through the AppExchange.
Opera Software has released the new version of Opera Mobile 8.65 for Windows Mobile, available from www.opera.com/mobile
with a free 30-day trial.
Following the release of Opera Mobile for the Windows Mobile platform, Opera is pitching this release to Smartphone and Pocket PC users as the Web browser of choice. The release incorporates user feedback and beta testing results with “Opera’s winning small-screen performance,” company officials say.
Such manufacturers as Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Asus, Sharp, and Toshiba have licensed and installed Opera Mobile on Windows Mobile devices, while consumers have also independently acquired the Web browser with over three million downloads from the company site.
“The Windows Mobile platform has proved to be a powerful stage for Opera Mobile.” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software, who said Opera Mobile 8.65 will “amplify the level of fun” for users.”
Opera Mobile 8.65 for Windows Mobile provides Flash support, allows users to send links by e-mail, SMS or MMS, and adds several menu and user interface enhancements such as an integrated search field in the address bar.
Richmond, Virginia-based AMC Technology has announced that it will demonstrate Oracle Siebel and PeopleSoft CRM integrations at its exhibit at Oracle OpenWorld 2007, the Oracle user and developer conference, on November 11-15, 2007 at the Moscone Convention Center South in San Francisco.
AMC officials say they’ll demonstrate how companies can use their products to automatically log inbound and outbound calls into the CRM application, have critical CRM information appear even as the phone is ringing and direct incoming calls based on CRM information.
The product can be used to conference and transfer calls, as well as other functions, all from the CRM screen. AMC delivers these features using existing phone systems as a Certified Member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork and Siebel Validated Software Partner.
AMC sells the Multi-Channel Integration Suite, which features an open architecture to integrate customer relationship management (CRM) applications and contact centers.
First Coffee watched the United States – South Africa match of the Rugby World Cup in an Irish pub here in Istanbul. The crowd was overwhelmingly South African, I appeared to be the only American. Of course America lost — badly, as expected — but my South African friend was shocked at the American team’s courage and heart. He couldn’t stop talking about how hard America fought in the waning stages of the game, losing something like 55–8 the Eagles, weekend players, amateurs with day jobs were still giving everything they had for a meaningless try against one of the world’s elite rugby powers — which they got, and when they did, every single South African in the bar applauded. I’m proud to be an American as it is, but I left that pub just a little more proud.
IMagicLab, aCustomer Relationship Management, Internet sales and Inventory software system for automobile dealers, has announced the release of DealerCRM for Mobile Devices, so users can reach their contacts, send e-mails, record live phone calls and respond to leads in real time via their Blackberry, Windows Mobile or iPhone wireless device.
“On test drives, at Starbucks, eating lunch or even watching the point salespeople now have access to everything they need to stay connected with prospects and customers,” said Richard Keith Latman, iMagicLab’s Chief Executive Officer.
“I don’t think you can buy a better Customer Relationship Management system at any price,” says Rafi Hamid, Director of ecommerce for the Napleton Auto Group, “After four years with them our business has skyrocketed.”
Mobile DealerCRM is available for all iMagicLab customer relationship management clients, effective immediately. The company sells software and services, including Web sites, DeskLog, AutoPencil and eBay auction services specifically for the automobile retailing industry.
Volusion, a vendor of software and Web site services, has announced the release of the newest version of its e-commerce product. Most of the over 40 new features, including new CRM tools, “had at one time been requested by a current Volusion store owner,” company officials say.
Among the new innovations are enhanced site features and functionality, advanced product and category management tools, advanced order processing features, new CRM tools, design improvements and additional integrations. A major upgrade to V5 will also be seen in the form of new shipping functionality, which includes true shipping integrations, company officials say.
With the new version, merchants can now retrieve negotiated live rates from every major shipper and those live rates will take into consideration package dimensions, products shipping separately and orders shipping from multiple warehouses.
A major feature request was also filled with V5’s ability to offer full “per product” dimensional shipping support for UPS, company officials say.