Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is a huge fan of Fitbit, the fitness tracking device maker that went public last year.
He was an early investor and has been an ardent supporter of the company for many years. In fact, he used to hand out free Fitbits during meetings back in 2008, way before the wearable device became popular.
But Fitbit hasn’t been doing particularly well lately. Although it beat its most recent earnings in November, its stock tanked roughly 7% the next day. In January, it dropped more than 10% on the day it revealed a new smartwatch that disappointed many investors. All in all, it lost almost 25% of its share value in the past month alone.
But Benioff remains a strong backer of the company, and on Wednesday, it was revealed that he continues to be a major shareholder of Fitbit. According to a new regulatory filing, Benioff owns 5.3% of the company, or 5.3 million of the 99 million outstanding shares.
And investors seem to welcome Benioff’s endorsement, as Fitbit shares jumped as much as 7% Wednesday on news of his holding.
One reason Benioff likes Fitbit so much is because he sees the connected devices market blowing up in the near future. With everything from your watch to refrigerators getting connected to each other, they will generate tons of data that can be used to analyse and predict user behaviour, and eventually offer better services.
It’s also why Salesforce’s most recent products all have to do with data analysis and connected devices. Last year, it revealed IoT Cloud, a platform that helps companies create their service around the data it collects, while the year before, it launched Wave, its first major data analysis software.