Chief Executive Marc Benioff notes that the move is intended to help the software firm push further innovation and development for an ecosystem of apps tailored for the Salesforce platform.
Salesforce already falls on the more active corporate venture investor side of the spectrum when it comes to software that helps big firms stay on track, and the pace of its investment expenditures has been on the upswing. All in, Salesforce has tossed $504.5 million in the last year — a big jump from the $158 million a year earlier. The hugeness of that jump is partially explained by a $100 million fund set up to bring its investment interests to Europe.
Salesforce Ventures has been around since 2014, following its parent firm onto the market about five years later, and according to John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, it is the only corporate venture fund that is 100 percent invested in enterprise cloud computing.
And Salesforce's big entrance into wider-scale investment — albeit in a narrow area — comes just as startups are starting to run into the great funding wall as private equity valuations have been on a downswing this year. Salesforce, by comparison, remains highly active.
Corporate venture groups have been on the rise in 2015. According to PwC, they have been behind over $7.5 billion in 905 deals to high-growth startups in 2015. That adds up to 13 percent of venture capital dollars invested that year and 21 percent of deals.