Salesforce.com launches $100 million venture capital fund

The money will go to startups building mobile applications on Salesforce.com's Salesforce1 platform

John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and strategy

John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and strategy

While Salesforce.com has been an active investor in startup companies for years, it's taking these efforts to the next level with its first dedicated venture capital fund.

The Salesforce1 Fund will initially invest US$100 million in emerging companies over the next few years, said John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and strategy. The fund will focus on new mobile application startups that are building products on the vendor's Salesforce1 platform, Somorjai said.

Salesforce.com already has many companies in its investment portfolio, with stakes in the likes of ServiceMax, Kenandy and Infor. With the new fund, however, "we're formalizing the program," Somorjai said. "Companies want more and more functionality. They want more apps. As a result of that we've created a dedicated fund to accelerate that effort."

As part of Monday's announcement, Salesforce.com named a number of new investments, including ones in InsideSales and e-signature provider DocuSign.

While the plan is to spend $100 million over several years, "we'll see how long it lasts," Somorjai said.

Vendors have often used dedicated venture funds in hopes of jump-starting partner interest in a new platform. Earlier this year, IBM launched a fund for startups that want to use its Watson supercomputer to build products.

In 2012, SAP created a fund with similar goals for its Hana in-memory computing platform. The company says more than 1,500 startups are now building on Hana.

It's easy to see why big vendors start venture funds, beyond the obvious hope of investing in companies that eventually sell for big money. Startup developers bring an outside perspective to a vendor's technology and with it the chance they'll create something novel enough to warrant an acquisition.

For startups, these funds provide needed capital but also the added credibility of a relationship with a much larger, more established vendor. This is key for landing initial customers, which tend to work closely with startups to refine and test products before a launch.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesSalesforce.comDocuSignsoftwarecloud computinginvestmentsinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?