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Cisco Just Muscled Up in Workplace Software

October 17, 2016, 6:39 PM UTC
Photograph by Getty Images

Cisco is ramping up its push into workplace software.

The networking giant said Monday that it had bought small enterprise software startup Heroik Labs, which sells software called Worklife for scheduling meetings, taking notes, and keeping track of company events on calendars. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The startup has less than 10 employees, according to its LinkedIn page, so it’s likely that Cisco is acquiring the company for its workforce rather than purely for its technology. The Worklife team will be part of Cisco’s cloud collaboration technology unit, which includes video conferencing hardware and software, the Spark chat app, and related business productivity software.

“With the Worklife team onboard, we see an opportunity to build on the virtual meeting experience that the Cisco Spark platform currently provides, and enhance meeting productivity across the board,” Cisco head of corporate development and investments Rob Salvagno said in a blog post. “For example, we can start offering additional tools, tightly integrated into Cisco Spark, to help users track calendars, create agenda templates, and collaborate on note-taking in real-time during a meeting.”

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Worklife CEO Dave Kashen wrote in a blog post that the startup’s paid software would be free following the acquisition.

“Whether you signed up for an annual plan or a monthly plan, you will soon receive a refund of the entire amount you paid for the premium offering,” Kashen wrote.

Cisco’s work collaboration business has been a bright spot for the company as its core switching and routing sales have slowed in recent years due partly to the rise of cloud computing, which lets many companies avoid buying expensive data center hardware.

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In Cisco’s latest earnings, its work collaboration sales rose 6% year-over-year to $1.15 billion. Sales in the company’s routing business, however, dropped 6% year-over-year to $1.9 billion while its switching business grew 2% to $3.8 billion during the same time period.

Workplace software competitors to Cisco include the startup Slack, Atlassian (TEAM), and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype web messaging and phone service.

Earlier this month, Cisco said its chief technology officer, Zorowar Biri Singh, would leave the company by the end of the month. A replacement has yet to be named.