Jive Software moves to Palo Alto, beefs up workforce
May 18, 2010 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Hoping to emerge above a pack of companies racing to bring social media software tools popularized by Facebook and Twitter to the office cubicle, Jive Software is relocating its headquarters to Palo Alto from Oregon, with plans to quadruple its local workforce and issue an initial public offering by the end of next year.
Jive, which opened its first office in Palo Alto last year with four employees and now has about 50 people, also named Silicon Valley veteran Tony Zingale its permanent CEO Tuesday.
The company, which already has offices on Emerson Street in Palo Alto, on Friday signed a lease for 20,000 square feet of space at 325 Lytton Ave., where it plans to move later this year. It said its local workforce could reach 200 people within the next 18 months.
"Our reason for being in the Valley is really clear -- this is where the talent resides," said Zingale, adding that Jive expected to compete with Facebook and Google to lure engineering talent. It will keep a presence in Portland, its former headquarters.
Jive, which calls itself the world's largest and fastest-growing social business software company, says it has over 15 million users -- the employees and customers of a list of companies that includes Nike, Intel, Lufthansa Airlines, and VMware. Jive specializes in collaborative and social software that allows connections between internal communities of employees and external customer communities.
With Microsoft entering the social networking enterprise software market in a big way with its SharePoint 2010 release, and IBM's Lotus Connections providing strong competition, Jive needs to rely on faster innovation and providing compelling integration with other technologies to maintain its strong market position, said Rob Koplowitz, an analyst with the research firm Forrester.
"They are doing well and an IPO run is certainly not out of the question," Koplowitz said in an e-mail.
Zingale, the former CEO of Mercury Interactive, a business software company acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2006, had been serving as Jive's interim CEO since February. He said he wanted to make the job permanent because he was so excited about Jive's opportunity to provide a next generation of social media software to replace older software workhorses that still dominate in many offices, such as Microsoft's Office and Outlook products.
Even after 30 years in the valley, "I have never seen anything as exciting and as fast paced as this space that Jive participates in," Zingale said in an interview. "It was a fight I just had to be a part of." The runaway popularity of consumer social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, he said, means the workplace is ripe for a similar conversion.
"Why do I know what my high school girlfriend had for dinner over the weekend but, if I'm a product team manager, I might not know what piece of code an engineer checked in and changed over the weekend?" Zingale said.
Contact Mike Swift at 408-271-3648. Follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/swiftstories.
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