Salesforce announced today that its venture capital arm will pump $100 million into European startups over the next five years, the latest vote of confidence in the continent’s surging startup economy.

John Somorjai, Salesforce’s executive vice president of corporate development and head of Salesforce Ventures, said in an interview that while he had been traveling to Europe for several years, there had been a noticeable acceleration of startups and entrepreneurship in the last 18 months.

He attributed the momentum to a variety of factors, including greater government backing and support for startups. He also said Europe, in general, had become one of the fastest-growing markets for cloud-related services.

Somorjai noted that an IDC forecast projected that Europe’s public cloud software market would grow 12 times faster than other IT markets across the continent. That growth has made the European-Middle East-African region the company’s “strongest market,” he said.

The company had already been investing in European companies, including CartoDB, Cloud9 IDE, CloudSense,  NewVoiceMedia, Qubit, Universal Avenue and YOUR SL. And earlier this year, Salesforce Ventures hired its first full-time partner based in Europe.

Salesforce Ventures will primarily be focused on enterprise applications that have elements of cloud, mobile, and social.

The announcement by Salesforce comes just a few days after Cisco Systems pledged to increase its planned investments in France from $113 million to $226 million.


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