Tell us about your firm. What makes it different?
Salesforce Ventures is the strategic investment arm of Salesforce. Our mission is to invest in the most innovative cloud companies and founders globally that are core to the Salesforce ecosystem. These are innovative, next-gen startups that are doing amazing things that drive digital transformation in areas like sales, service, marketing, platform, and commerce and across industry verticals like financial services, retail, and healthcare. We have invested > $2.5B and have been lucky to partner with hundreds of leading enterprise cloud companies such as Zoom, Snowflake, nCino, and more. Our close relationship with Salesforce allows us to provide our portfolio with differentiated access to one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies in the world, offering value beyond just capital, including go to market advice and customer introductions. We also lead with our values – incorporating philanthropy, diversity, and social responsibility into our investment focus and processes.
Where did your firm’s name come from?
Salesforce Ventures is the global strategic venture arm for Salesforce, so we think it speaks for itself. 🙂
What defines your portfolio?
Our portfolio companies are the best enterprise cloud companies across commerce, data, integration, marketing, sales, security, service, and more. Alongside Salesforce, our portfolio companies are enabling the digital transformation for our joint customers that is required to succeed in today’s environment.
We’ve launched multiple targeted funds, including one focused on Artificial Intelligence, another on Impact, and regional funds focused on Australia, Canada, Europe, and Japan. We’ve also doubled down on our investment in Salesforce consultants and system integrators with our Consultant Trailblazer Fund. We are investing in the companies that are driving the future, all around the world.
How is the firm different today than when you first started?
While the team has expanded with offices from SF to London to Japan, our focus has remained the same. Over the last 10 years, we have invested in over 400 of the best enterprise cloud companies in the world and have over 270 active portfolio companies and over 95 acquisitions and 21 IPOs.
Over the years as we’ve learned and had success, we have started writing larger checks. This year, we have been involved with and led investments in a number of later stage companies, such as Tanium, Snowflake, and Auth0.
Why is your firm a part of NVCA?
NVCA helps keep us educated and informed about what’s going on in our industry and that’s been invaluable. NVCA is helpful in sharing best practices and provides conformity on things like legal documents, which we utilize. They’ve shown great leadership on areas like immigration reform, which is critical to startups and technology innovation.
Tell us about the current VC landscape in your geography/region.
As a global team, we continue to be active during this unprecedented time because we have seen the increased need for best-in-class enterprise cloud solutions across all functions and businesses. As the recent Pitchbook and NVCA Venture Monitor called out, CVCs have participated in 26% of all US VC deals, a new high, in a year that many suggested the industry would see a large retreat by these investors, and reports state that CVC activity will reach a new record in 2020. There’s a faster race to cloud adoption than ever before, and enterprise tech startups have raised more cash than consumer tech companies for the first time in the last five years. The pandemic downturn will yield a new startup wave and there will be a new generation of investors and entrepreneurs that approach funding differently — all around the world.
What’s ahead for your firm in 2020?
This year has proved to be a truly unprecedented time, in the midst of several crises at once — a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a crisis of racial injustice. However, even in this time of uncertainty we have remained active and focused on supporting our portfolio. We continue to invest across the globe because we’ve seen the increased need for best-in-class enterprise cloud solutions across all functions and businesses. Organizations have been forced to re-imagine their businesses and how they can operate and succeed in today’s new normal. Transitions we thought would take decades are happening right now and faster than ever before. Digital has truly become an imperative for businesses of all sizes and the cloud has become more important than ever before.
On September 16, we’re excited to partner with Bessemer Venture Partners and Forbes for the fifth year in a row to announce the annual Cloud 100 list — the best-of-the-best in cloud in the world. We will celebrate the industry’s success and recognize the leaders who are shaping the cloud-first world we’re living in today. You can join us for the celebration with CEOs like Eric Yuan of Zoom, Frank Slootman of Snowflake, and Jennifer Tejada of PagerDuty and all-star athletes like Stephen Curry and Baron Davis. You can register to attend here: https://thecloud100.com/
Describe your firm’s culture in 5 words or less.
Innovative, Trusted, Growth-Mindset, Supportive, and Inclusive.
Cassie Ann Hodges serves as Director of Communications at NVCA where she leads NVCA’s strategic communications, branding and content development, and media efforts to better support and empower the venture community, startups, and entrepreneurs. She also oversees the NVCA StratComm Peer Group network and programming.