Ford has shuttered VIIZR, a software-as-a-service firm that constructed an app with Salesforce to assist professionals like plumbers, locksmiths and electricians schedule area appointments, ship invoices and handle prospects. TechCrunch realized. About 40 individuals who labored at VIIZR have been laid off.
First introduced in December 2021, VIIZR was a separate firm majority owned by Ford, with Salesforce as a minority investor. The objective on the time was to construct one in all a number of digital instruments that may catapult Ford Professional, the automaker’s business automobile and repair enterprise, to about $45 billion in gross sales by 2025.
VIIZR is now not a part of that plan.
Ford spokesperson Catherine Hargett confirmed that the automaker has ended its funding in VIIZR and discontinued the product on November 1 resulting from a scarcity of buyer demand and prioritizing its telematics, fleet administration and charging productiveness software program the place demand is excessive and grows.
Ford Professional is on monitor to succeed in $45 billion in gross sales – a goal CEO Jim Farley famous at a January 2022 occasion highlighting the involvement of VIIZR and Salesforce. Ford Professional generated $42.7 billion in income by means of the primary 9 months of 2023, a 22% achieve from the identical interval final 12 months, based on the corporate’s newest earnings. Ford Professional software program subscriptions, which embody providers that assist corporations handle fleets, electrical automobile charging, information analytics and telematics, reached 476,000 within the third quarter, up almost 50% 12 months over 12 months.
Whereas Ford Professional’s enterprise is booming, the software-as-service app has confronted elevated competitors and restricted demand.
When VIIZR first launched, Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Farley and Salesforce, touted its potential at a January 2022 occasion in Napa, California, attended by TechCrunch. VIIZR used Salesforce’s area service product, which gives software program designed for a cell workforce, to construct its app. Citing market analysis from Salesforce and Gartner, Ford famous that the US area service administration market is valued at $3 billion yearly and is predicted to double over the subsequent six years as modifications in shopper habits resulting from COVID would drive robust demand . for transactions.
The premise was that retailers, lots of whom would possibly drive Ford transit vans or vans, have been already utilizing their autos as cell workplaces. So why not benefit from promoting digital instruments like an app that makes their jobs simpler in order that, as Farley mentioned on the time, “they do not must run their enterprise with sticky notes.”
“One of many large prospects for these vans are these skilled drivers; they may very well be first responders, contractors, electricians, plumbers – and loads of these individuals work proper of their truck,” Benioff instructed TechCrunch on the sidelines of the 2022 occasion. “You may see that they’ve reconfigured the truck in order that it has a desk and you do not even have to go away the truck. So the concept that we may then present functions for these professionals to attain the next degree of productiveness made loads of sense and is then additionally higher built-in into the automobile providers.”
The marketplace for apps just like the one VIIZR was growing turned crowded and developed quickly within the two years for the reason that firm launched, Hargett mentioned. business autos, which is what Ford Professional focuses on.
Though VIIZR has been discontinued, Salesforce nonetheless gives enterprise software program to Ford Professional.