SAN FRANCISCO — Salesforce.com hasn’t been a profitability machine in the past few years. But that doesn’t mean it can’t spend some money on a birthday party.
Today, Salesforce, an early hotshot in delivering business software from the cloud, celebrated 15 years of existence by holding a Janelle Monae concert here at Justin Herman Plaza. Thousands of people showed up for the occasion.
Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s chief executive, led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the company he started in a San Francisco apartment in March 1999. Back then, it just offered a service companies could use to manage sales leads. As Salesforce has grown larger, many tech vendors have taken aim at it, including Benioff’s own former employer, Oracle.
All the while, Salesforce has diversified into a provider of software for managing customer service, automating the marketing process, and monitoring social media. It also offers clean data on companies that salespeople can hit up and a Platform as a Service for building and deploying applications.
Never mind that Salesforce’s most recent quarterly loss came in at $116 million. Its quarterly revenue exceeded $1.14 billion in the first quarter of this year. It claims more than 100,000 “successful customers.” And its application exchange has become a veritable ecosystem akin to Apple’s App Store, except for business software.
So maybe a big party is called for. And maybe Salesforce can even afford to splurge on a new $10 million fund in partnership with the nonprofit Tipping Point to fight poverty.
At least people came to Salesforce’s birthday party.