LinkedIn Buys PointDrive for Its Browser-Based Presentation App

Business social network giant LinkedIn plans to integrate the PointDrive presentation application into its Sales Solutions portfolio for professionals.

LinkedIn PointDrive 2

PointDrive, a company that provides a presentation application to help sales professionals enhance their email pitches, has been acquired by LinkedIn. Financial terms of the deal, announced July 26, weren't released.

The deal comes on the heels of Microsoft's announcement in June that it plans to buy LinkedIn for $26.2 billion. While Microsoft itself offers the widely used PowerPoint presentation software, PointDrive is designed specifically to build browser-based presentations with multimedia elements including audio and video.

Since its launch in 2013 PointDrive has offered a level of integration with LinkedIn's social network, pulling elements of the user's LinkedIn profile to enrich the presentation.

Sales professionals can use PointDrive to jazz up an email pitch. Although email still is widely used by sales reps, their content tends to be relatively dull, usually consisting of some text or text with attachments to richer documents.

A presentation built with PointDrive can be sent via email, with recipients receiving an invitation to click through to view a multimedia-rich browser-based presentation that can include videos from YouTube, slides, pricing sheets and other sales content, along with an audio narration.

"PointDrive's talented team has built an easy-to-use application that allows sales professionals to package, personalize and deliver polished and engaging sales content to their prospects and customers," David Thacker, vice president of product at LinkedIn, said in a blog post. "Through their product they simplify the buyer-seller conversation in ways that result in more productivity and generate greater efficiency."

Thacker noted LinkedIn's own global sales organization became a PointDrive customer about a year ago. "We're enthusiastic about the future possibilities of integrating the PointDrive experience with our Sales Solutions portfolio," he added.

That same point was echoed by Bill Burnett, founder and CEO of PointDrive, who joins LinkedIn as director of sales solutions. "Our vision of differentiated buyer engagement is a natural extension to LinkedIn's Sales Solutions goal to connect the world's buyers and sellers to build relationships," he said in a blog post. "I couldn't imagine a better partner to carry forward our concept to a global audience."

Jeff Kaplan, managing director of consulting firm ThinkStrategies, said the deal shows LinkedIn is staying active with business moves.

"It indicates that LinkedIn is continuing to aggressively strengthen its sales and marketing capabilities via acquisitions even as it awaits the completion of its own acquisition" by Microsoft, Kaplan told eWEEK. "And it is another example of the additional features Microsoft will be able to incorporate into its own portfolio."

During the transition to LinkedIn, PointDrive will continue to support its current customers but is not accepting any new ones. Development and product teams are slated to relocate to LinkedIn's San Francisco office, while customer-facing personnel will remain based in Chicago.

Fenot Tekle, a spokesperson for LinkedIn, told eWEEK that LinkedIn's enthusiasm as a customer brought PointDrive to LinkedIn's attention. "We continue to move forward with our acquisition strategy post-Microsoft," she added.

LinkedIn has been making additional moves recently to enhance how salespeople can use other services to leverage the popular social network. Earlier this month it announced the first major update to its Sales Navigator "system of engagement" service, which integrates it more closely with both the customer relationship management platform and Gmail.

On the mobile front, the update provides users with alerts and recommendations about other people at a company they're already talking to beyond their main prospect or customer.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...