The online collaboration startup also is offering Cisco a 15 percent stake in the company for WebEx, which Cisco bought almost five years ago.
SalesCrunch, a startup in the increasingly competitive online
meeting space, is making an unusual pitch for Cisco Systems WebEx business.
SalesCrunch officials on March 13 submitted an unsolicited
bid to buy WebEx from Cisco for $1and a 15 percent stake in the startup.
SalesCrunch founder and CEO Sean Black sees the move as a way of rapidly
building up his customer base as well as his engineering capabilities. While
some observers are calling the bid a publicity stunt, Black said the goal would
be to migrate all of Ciscos WebEx customers over to his companys technology
within 12 months.
At SalesCrunch, we deliver a far superior
technology platformoptimized for sales and meetings efficiencyat a fraction
of the cost attainable by WebEx and its competitors who have massive legacy
infrastructure costs, he said in a statement. Although WebEx doesnt fit into
Ciscos core business, it doesnt have to suffer the same fate as Flip.
Black was referring to Ciscos Flip video
camera business, which the networking giant shuttered in 2011 as part of a
larger restructuring of the company aimed at saving $1 billion in expenses and
getting its financial feet back under it.
For a time last year, as Cisco was
reorganizing its operations, speculation was that the company also would
shed either its Linksys or WebEx business, or both
. Cisco officials denied the rumors.
Cisco officials have not commented on
Cisco bought WebEx for $2.9 billion in 2007
as the company looked to expand beyond its networking roots. WebEx is part of
Ciscos larger collaboration business, which also includes such products as
TelePresence and other video communications technologies. At the time, some
analysts questioned whether WebEx was the right move for Cisco.
Collaboration, which has become a key pillar of Ciscos
overall business, generated more than $1 billion in sales during the fourth
quarter of 2011. Cisco doesnt break down how much of that came from WebEx.
Two-year-old SalesCrunch, which counts Accel Partners, First Round Capital, NextView Ventures
and AOL Ventures as its backers, offers an online browser-based collaboration
platform that includes online meetings, analytics, sales delivery, training and
other collaboration capabilities, and integrates the platform with others, such
as Salesforce.com and LinkedIn, according to its Website. The system can do
everything from set up personal meeting rooms and dedicated conference numbers
to letting meeting organizers know whether attendees are listening or answering
SalesCrunchs Black told Business
that his company had made a bid for WebEx last year, but that
Cisco officials were not interested.
"We met with them about six months ago in San
Francisco," he told the publication. "It quickly became clear that
the only way to get them to take our offer seriously is to bring it to the
attention of the shareholders."
Thats where the 15 percent stake comes in. Black reportedly
said that with an offer that includes a stake in SalesCrunch, Ciscos board of
directors would have to at least discuss the offer.
The board is going to have to have a conversation," he