Salesforce leads $41M investment in 'quote to cash' firm Apttus

The startup's cloud apps are built on the Salesforce1 platform.

Salesforce's investment arm has led a major funding round that delivered $41 million in fresh cash to Apttus, a maker of cloud software that helps companies manage price quotes and sales contracts.

The Series B round, led by Salesforce Ventures and announced Monday, follows Apttus's $37 million in Series A funding in September 2013, for a total of $78 million. K1 Capital and Iconiq also participated in both rounds.

This latest investment reportedly represents the largest Salesforce has ever made in a company it wasn't simply buying.

Apttus's "quote to cash" applications -- covering the sales process from price quotes to revenue management -- are built on the Salesforce1 platform, which enables vendors to create apps that can be easily integrated with other platform apps, including Salesforce CRM.

Among its offerings are its Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) product as well as applications for contract management, renewals and revenue management.

In all, Apttus has served more than 300 of Salesforce's enterprise customers, including 70 of the Fortune 500, it said.

"This is an important event for both companies," said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.

"First, it validates Apttus' torrid growth," Pombriant said. "They've done quite a bit with their Series A and are ready to take on more capital and have more explosive growth."

For Salesforce, meanwhile, it's a strategic move. Perhaps most notably, it "highlights a platform-native company that's making good using the Salesforce1 platform to build its product and business," he added.

Looking ahead, "Salesforce continues its own growth, and that will be accentuated by vendors using the Salesforce1 platform to spread their benefits," Pombriant said.

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