The 22 startups that Salesforce has bet on during the pandemic, including cybersecurity, commerce, and sales engagement firms
- Salesforce's venture capital arm has invested in many well known enterprise software companies, including Zoom, DocuSign, Box, and Snowflake, and its interest in a startup often signals that it's one to watch.
- Salesforce is also known to acquire companies it has invested in: Acquisitions Quip, MuleSoft, and Vlocity were all previously funded by Salesforce Ventures.
- Business Insider looked at 22 of Salesforce Venture's recent investments to see what the cloud giant may be interested in this year amid the pandemic-spurred shift to remote work.
- We found a focus on cybersecurity, payments and commerce, remote work, new sales technologies, and virtual events.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
An investment from Salesforce's venture capital arm is often seen as positive validation for startups given its large, pioneering presence in the enterprise software market. Since the fund was started 2009, Salesforce Ventures has funded over 400 enterprise cloud companies, including many well-known names like Zoom, DocuSign, Box, and Snowflake.
An investment also often leads to partnerships with Salesforce, like its recent one with payments startup Stripe. Salesforce is also known to acquire companies that it has invested in as it looks to expand its product offerings: Acquisitions like Quip, MuleSoft, and Vlocity were all previously funded by Salesforce Ventures. The venture arm also looks to fund companies that are built on Salesforce's AppExchange or in its ecosystem.
It has several different funds it's actively investing in, including a new $100 million Impact Fund that seeks out mission-focused cloud companies tackling social issues like education and reskilling, climate action, diversity, equity and inclusion. It's also a global investor, with branches in Europe, Australia, Japan, and Canada, and it partners with Forbes and Bessemer Venture Partners every year to select a list of the world's top 100 private cloud companies and the 20 rising stars.
Business Insider looked at some of Salesforce Venture's investments from 2020 to see what the cloud giant may be interested in this year amid the global pandemic-related shift to remote work.
We found several investments for companies focused on cybersecurity — like Tanium and Auth0 — which is increasingly important during this era of remote work. A few firms focused on capabilities that extend the customer relationship management capabilities of its platform, like Outreach, Gong, and Hearsay Systems. Salesforce also funded a number of companies focused on payments and ecommerce, like PredictSpring.
Salesforce Ventures says automation, open-source developer tools, and remote work and collaboration were also areas of focus.
"Since the pandemic, companies have quickly embraced remote work and collaboration, set up at-home call centers, developed new go-to-market strategies and supported their employees from home, while ensuring all devices are secure," Salesforce Ventures managing partner Matt Garratt said in an email. "There is a broader shift happening to fully realize digital transformation centered around making data useful and nimble, which will unlock the potential for artificial intelligence, business intelligence, and automation to deliver strategic and impactful insights."
He adds that this informed Salesforce Venture's investments in companies like Auth0, Automation Anywhere, Hopin, Tanium and Snowflake (Salesforce Ventures increased its investment in the firm by purchasing $250 million in shares when it went public earlier this year).
Here are 22 companies Salesforce Ventures invested in so far in 2020 (total funding amounts and valuations via PitchBook):
Salesforce partnered with payments startup Stripe in September to allow Salesforce customers using its ecommerce cloud to have the option to set up payment processing using Stripe's technology. The terms of the deal and number of customers who will use the tool weren't disclosed, but the partnership is a sign that Stripe is signing on larger enterprise customers, cofounder John Collison told Forbes.
For Salesforce it's a way to grow its ecommerce software offering, at a time when retailers are relying on online shopping to keep business going.
Salesforce Ventures invested in the payments company in 2015, as part of its $100 million Series C2 round led by Visa, according to PitchBook.
Total funding raised: $1.89 billion
Valuation: $36 billion
ServiceMax, a "field service management" software tool to help customers manage the employees and equipment needed to meet customers externally, is build on Salesforce's platform. In February, Salesforce participated in a $80 million funding round led by Silver Lake, a private equity firm that owns a majority stake in ServiceMax.
In September, ServiceMax announced a new product built on Salesforce's Field Service tool which will give customers a "360-degree" view into their service contracts, product performance, and install bases. The goal is to reduce maintenance costs and maximize the time equipment runs.
ServiceMax has changed ownership a few times in the last few years. In 2017, GE acquired ServiceMax for $915 million, but in 2019 it was bought by Silver Lake Management.
Total funding raised: $80 million
Valuation: $915 million as of January 2017
Outreach makes sales engagement software, which is meant to help salespeople track and manage all of their relationships with customers. Salesforce Ventures was a new investor in Outreach's most recent $50 million Series F round led by Sands Capital in June, meant to help the firm expand overseas.
For Salesforce, the investment helps the company keep tabs on what sales people want and need to do their jobs. Salesforce also has its own sales engagement product, but analyst firm Forrester ranked Outreach's product higher than Salesforce's offering in a recent report.
Total funding raised: $287.96 million
Valuation: $1.33 billion
Auth0 makes software for identity and authentication, baking existing login and identity verification tools into code that developers can easily add to their websites or apps. There's options for single sign-on, two-factor authentication, password-free login capabilities, and the ability to detect password breaches.
Salesforce led a $120 million Series F round for the startup in July that raised its valuation to $1.9 billion. The investment gives the CRM giant a stake in a market that's growing as more people work digitally.
Total funding raised: $333.47 million
Valuation: $1.92 billion
Tanium is a cybersecurity startup that makes tools to simplify the process of protecting a wide variety of employee devices. Tanium's valuation soared to $9 billion after it received a "strategic investment" from Salesforce Ventures in June. The company didn't reveal how much the investment was, but CNBC said the funding was likely around $100 million.
Along with the investment, Salesforce also said it would partner with Tanium to bring its device management technology to the CRM giant's customer base.
In October, Tanium said it raised $150 million in new funding that put its valuation over the previous $9 billion mark, Business Insider's Rosalie Chan reported.
Total funding raised: $837.58 million
Valuation: $9 billion+
Gong raised a $200 million Series D funding round in August at a $2.2 billion valuation. The round was led by hedge fund Coatue, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, and others. The startup makes artificial intelligence software that analyzes customer interactions for sales teams.
Gong is part of a new type of sales software that is used on top of — or in tandem with — customer relationship management systems.
Total funding raised: $333 million
Valuation: $2.2 billion
Cybersecurity firm Snyk raised two funding rounds this year: The first was a $150 million round in January, led by Stripes, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and others, before a $200 million round led by Addition in September which valued the company at $2.6 billion.
Snyk offers an open-source tool to help developers find potential vulnerabilities before they commit their code. During the pandemic Snyk's business has accelerated as more companies move to the cloud, CEO Peter Mckay told Business Insider.
Total funding raised: $454.51 million
Valuation: $2.6 billion
Hopin is building a virtual events platform and has seen its business soar this year as companies have to turn all their in-person events into remote affairs. It raised a $40 million Series A round in June, led by IVP, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, Slack's venture capital group the Slack Fund, Accel, and others.
Total funding raised: $47.18 million
Valuation: $285.2 million
Airkit helps companies digitize their customer service by making it easy to build customer-facing digital tools without much code. It's meant to boost a customer service center's productivity and recently raised $28 million from Salesforce Ventures, Accel, and Emergence Capital. Salesforce was also previously an investor in Airkit's seed round in 2017.
Notably, Airkit's founders were previously executives at RelateIQ, a relationship intelligence company acquired by Salesforce.com in 2014. Salesforce Ventures often invests in startups founded by former Salesforcers.
"The last mile of customer experience continues to be a challenge for every company — and as consumers, we've all experienced those pain points acutely," Stephen Ehikian, CEO of Airkit said in a press release. "With Airkit, we set out to build a low-code solution purpose-built for customer engagement that would be as simple to use as Excel and as powerful as Salesforce."
Total funding raised: $56.67M
Valuation: $81.67 million (excluding its most recent funding round)
TechSee is an AI-powered visual customer engagement platform that aims to give customers an interactive, visual experience to improve overall service and customer satisfaction. Salesforce led a $30 million Series C funding round for TechSee earlier this year and was an existing investor from previous rounds.
TechSee's product is also integrated with Salesforce Service Cloud.
Total funding raised: $53.5 million
Valuation: $46.86 million before Series C
Qatalog makes a "virtual workspace" that helps bring different cloud software tools together to improve team collaboration. It recently announced a $15 million Series A round that included Salesforce Ventures.
The investment speaks to Salesforce's focus on improving tools for remote work and collaboration. Qatalog can connect to widely used tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, the Microsoft suite, Google's GSuite, Zoom, and Atlassian's tools like Confluence and Jira.
Total funding raised: $18.13 million
Valuation: $9.36 million before Series A
Salto emerged from stealth in October, after a Series A funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Salesforce Ventures. The company aims to create a "connective tissue" between different software tools, Business Insider's Joe Williams previously reported.
It essentially wants to make it easier for organizations to host many different software services, including Salesforce's CRM and Oracle's NetSuite, by making it easier to make back-end adjustments to all at the same time.
Total funding raised: $27 million
PredictSpring makes an ecommerce mobile platform for retailers and stores to manage inventory and clients, while making it possible to buy things in multiple ways, like in-store or for curbside pickup. It also lets store associates place online orders for shoppers if the items are not available in store. Salesforce made a strategic investment in the company in October, but didn't disclose the amount.
This is another investment Salesforce has made in a commerce company, as the retail industry has been shaken up this year by the pandemic.
Total funding raised: $13.5 million excluding Salesforce funding
Valuation: $34.2 million excluding Salesforce funding
Qualified is a conversational marketing platform that makes it possible to track and connect with potential customers that visit a company's website. It just raised a Series A earlier this year, led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation Salesforce Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.
Salesforce also participated in the company's seed round last year. Notably, Qualified's cofounders — Kraig Swensrud and Sean Whiteley — are former Salesforce executives.
"As sales and marketing teams evolve, we continue to look for partners who share our interest in making the pipeline more efficient," Salesforce Venture's Matt Garratt wrote in a medium post announcing the seed investment last year.
Total funding raised: $16.99 million
Valuation: $47 million
Hearsay Systems makes makes digital communication software for the financial services industry. Earlier this year, Hearsay partnered with Salesforce to work together to develop additional integrations beyond the existing app in Salesforce's AppExchange.
At the time Salesforce Ventures also poured some fresh funding into the startup, through Hearsay did not reveal the amount of the investment. Pitchbook estimates the funding was $10 million.
The partnership will help financial agents and advisors communicate information with other departments to better serve customers. Salesforce Venture's investment comes as it focuses on building out its industry specific tools like Financial Cloud. Additionally, CEO and cofounder Clara Shih is a former Salesforce employee, and worked in product marketing for Salesforce's AppExchange for three years in the late 2000s.
Total funding raised: $61.02 million
Valuation: $125 million
OwnBackup makes a data backup system that companies can use to store data from Salesforce and other cloud software tools. It's best known as a backup system for Salesforce and other tools in the Salesforce ecosystem like nCino and Veeva, which is likely why Salesforce Ventures participated in OwnBackup's most recent $50 million funding round.
With the funding, OwnBackup plans to expand outside of the Salesforce ecosystem.
Total funding raised: $99.75 million
Copado is a DevOps platform for Salesforce, and its technology helps companies manage and simplify the process of deploying the CRM platform. Earlier this year, it raised a $26 million Series B led by Insight Partners, with participation from Salesforce Ventures. Salesforce was already an investor and also participated in its previous round in 2018.
Total funding raised: $47 million
Odaseva is a data governance platform for Salesforce customers, who use it for things like backing up and archiving data and ensuring their data privacy. Salesforce participated in its most recent $25 million in Series B round in October, which was led by Eight Roads Ventures.
This is another example of Salesforce investing in companies built in its ecosystem.
Total funding raised: $38.64 million
Valuation: $43.23 million as of previous funding round in 2019
Bugcrowd is a crowdsourced cybersecurity platform that gives companies a customized security testing program to improve their security. Salesforce first became an investor when it participated in Bugcrowd's Series B funding round in 2016 and recently participated in a $30 million Series D round this year.
Total funding raised: $81.67 million
Valuation: $167 million
Bridgit makes construction resource management software. Salesforce Ventures participated in a $7 million funding round led by Autodesk earlier this year and was also an investor in a $4.7 million round last year. Its one of the handful of construction tech companies Salesforce has invested in.
Total funding raised: $16.78 million
Andpad is a project management software company focused on construction projects: It provides information on materials and workers, as well as photos from construction sites.
The company is based in Japan and Salesfsforce Ventures participated in its $37.3 million funding round earlier this year, which was led by Sequoia Capital China and Minerva Growth Partners. Salesforce has also invested in both of the company's previous two rounds, according to PitchBook.
Salesforce has been investing in growth in Japan over the last few years.
Total funding raised: $83.24 million
Apisero is a consulting partner for MuleSoft, helping customers implement MuleSoft tech, run trainings, and build software connectors to expand the product. Salesforce recently injected funding into the company, though didn't disclose the amount.
The round was the first-ever venture funding Apisero had ever received — and will be a catalyst for the firm to enter the broader Salesforce ecosystem. Apisero is planning to expand and focus on Salesforce's Financial Services Cloud and Health Cloud as Salesforce pushes its focus on industry specific solutions, it told Business Insider.
Total funding raised: Unknown
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