Salesforce is out with a newly branded product: money.
The CRM/marketing giant announced today it is launching the $100 million Salesforce 1 Fund as the first dedicated fund of its rebranded investment arm, Salesforce Ventures.
Salesforce has been investing successfully in startups for the last five years, with financial bets placed on 100 companies, EVP of corporate development/strategy John Somorjai told VentureBeat, but until now it invested simply under the Salesforce name.
Salesforce’s investments are unique, Somorjai said, because they are “trying to build the largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies” on the planet. The unifying thread of the new fund, he said, is that “all the companies are delivering integrated experiences to our customers” by extending the mobile- and social-oriented Salesforce 1 Platform.
Five companies will be the initial recipients of the Fund, including several well-established ones. Salesforce declined to reveal the amounts, but noted they vary in size and are all co-investments.
DocuSign received backing for its Salesforce-based app to allow document-signing on a mobile device, so you can, as Somorjai described, “close a deal on your phone.”
InsideSales got financing to integrate core functions — including click to call and lead management — into any Salesforce 1 mobile app.
Startup Skuid allows customers to create what Somorjai described as “new and powerful apps for Salesforce with no [coding].”
A wearables company, founded by singer and entrepreneur will.i.am and appropriately called i.am+, will be launching “fashion integrated with tech” in a few weeks, financed in part by the Salesforce 1 Fund and integrated with its platform. Salesforce has prioritized its connections to the growing Internet of things.
The fifth investment involves another, unnamed wearables company, Somorjai told us, but the deal is not yet closed.
The Salesforce 1 Fund will “typically do A, B or C rounds,” he said, “but, from time to time, we might do seed [rounds.]”
Past investments, he added, have gone “well beyond CRM.” As an example, he pointed to Kenandy, a company that created a Salesforce-backed app so a user could manage a factory from a phone.
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