Category Archives: energy

Salesforce buys SteelBrick from California and wind power from Virginia

Cloud giant has announced two new acquisitions, one intended to boost its bottom line and the other to shrink its carbon footprint.

The acquisition of California based start up SteelBrick gives it a quoting and billing system for SMEs that runs within the Salesforce cloud platform. Meanwhile, it has announced an agreement to source 40 megawatts of green power, from a new West Virginia wind farm, through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA).

SteelBricks, which announced the take-over on its company blog, makes configure-price-quote and subscription-billing apps for small and medium-size enterprises. It had recently added subscription billing functions after buying UK-based cloud app maker Invoice IT. The apps automate the processes between researching customers and collecting payment and clients include Silicon Valley cloud vendors Cloudera and Nutanix.

Salesforce already part owned SteelBrick, having funded the start up through investment arm Salesforce Ventures. In December it announced plans to acquire the rest of SteelBrick for $360 million. Salesforce said it aims to close the deal by the end of April.

Having seen how Salesforce pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, SteelBrick CEO Godard Abel said the company founder Max Rudman had been on a six year mission to simplify the process of selling. Abel was brought in as CEO having previously founded BigMachines, acquired by Oracle in 2013.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Salesforce is to buy an electricity supply from a West Virginia wind farm approximately 2,700 miles away. The two have signed a 12-year wind energy agreement for 40 megawatts (MW) of power to be provided through a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA).

The electricity generated under the agreement is expected to be 125,000 megawatt hours annually, which exceeds Salesforce’s data centre electricity consumption in its full fiscal year 2015. The wind farm is expected to be operational by December 2016 and will deliver clean energy to the same regional electricity grid that currently powers the majority of Salesforce’s data centre load.

This announcement follows Salesforce’s recent commitments to achieve net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 and to power all its global operations with renewable energy.