Former Salesforce executive raises $11.2 million for software startup

SAN FRANCISCO Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:09pm IST

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Chuck Ganapathi, the executive behind Salesforce's (CRM.N) popular Chatter software, is starting a company that takes aim at that company's core focus of managing business relationships.

Tactile, a service launching on Tuesday, aims to automatically synchronize email, calendar, tasks, Salesforce data, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter and other functions. It will help salespeople and other users manage data, Ganapathi said in an interview last week.

He has raised $11.2 million from Redpoint Ventures and Accel Partners, the venture firm where he worked as entrepreneur in residence while he developed the idea for Tactile.

"There was no better place to think about it because they are the ones who funded Dropbox," he said, referring to the startup he drew inspiration from. Dropbox, widely considered an initial public offering candidate for later this year, allows users to synchronize files automatically to the cloud, so the files can be accessed from anywhere rather than a specific set of computers.

Ganapathi said Redwood City, Calif.-based Tactile will be more complimentary than competitive with services such as Dropbox and Salesforce.

Dozens of enterprise-application software startups are trying to tap into a market that research firm Gartner estimated would total $142.8 billion dollars in 2014. Base, Intercom, Nimble, and Pipedrive make up a handful of the startups competing in various aspects of customer-relations management.

Accel's Kevin Efrusy, a former classmate of Ganapathi's at Stanford University's graduate school of business, will join Tactile's board, as will Redpoint Ventures' Satish Dharmaraj.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by David Gregorio)

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