In the bubbling niche of enterprise social software, the idea that Jive Software will go public soon is as poorly a kept secret as the same rumors about Facebook and LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has filed for an IPO. Facebook said it could go public in 2012.
Jive Software, the still-independent market leader in social business software that helps colleagues communicate and collaborate more effectively, took another step in its long path to becoming public by adding four board members from Google, Facebook, McAfee and Informatica.
Joining the Jive board are Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google; Jonathan Heiliger, vice president of Technical Operations at Facebook; McAfee President David DeWalt; and Charles Robel, who sits on the board at Informatica and AutoDesk.
Jive CEO Tony Zingale told eWEEK the new board members will help Jive along its "next phase of growth." With more than 15 million users spread across more than 3,000 companies, and $30 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins last July, Jive has a sweet recipe for going public.
Zingale naturally declined to comment on any such detail, but said:
"We're very excited to bring their expertise and perspective both in managing, leading and driving products in the companies that they come from," Zingale said. "We're trying to stay laser-focused on building the next great enterprise software company on the back of social business software."
Jive competes with Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Lotus Connections, Salesforce.com's Chatter and dozens of smaller companies, such as Socialtext, Socialcast and Mindtouch, in the competitive but certainly oversaturated market for real-time communication and document sharing tools.
In an era where Facebook and LinkedIn launched social connections onto the Web, Jive and its rivals are capitalizing on helping knowledge workers collaborate with colleagues, partners and suppliers.
Gartner Research said the enterprise social software market will hit $769 million in 2011. The market is growing 15 percent a year and should top $1 billion through 2012.
McAfee and Informatica use Jive's Social Business Platform. Google and Facebook do not, though Zingale noted that Social Business Platform has been available in the Google Apps Marketplace for the last 6 months. The software is available through Google's Chrome browser, which Pichai oversees, along with the Google Chrome Operating System.
Zingale also said Jive is currently doing some work to bring social capabilities from Social Business Platform to Google Docs and Gmail. This work did not factor into to Google's recent improvement to comments in Google Docs, which became more like Jive software with profile pictures, ownership and editing privileges and timestamps.
Jive's new board members will join Jive co-founder Bill Lynch, Jim Goetz, general partner at Sequoia Capital; Ted Schlein, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins; Bill Lanfri, private investor; and Zingale himself in completing the nine-member board.
Dave Hersh, former board member and Jive CEO before Zingale took over in February 2010, and outside consultant Christopher Lochhead have stepped down from the board.