Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, today announced that Salesforce Ventures, the company’s global corporate investment group, has launched a $125 million Europe Trailblazer Fund to continue to fuel enterprise cloud startups. Salesforce Ventures was the most active Corporate VC in Europe1 last year and has invested in companies pioneering digital payments, machine vision, artificial intelligence, blockchain and the API economy.
“Europe is a clear leader in cloud technology today, and we are excited to deepen our investment in the region,” said John Somorjai, EVP of Corporate Development and Salesforce Ventures. “Our commitment to European startups reflects the growth of innovation, our belief in the local entrepreneurs and our focus on creating the world’s largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies to drive customer success.”
There was €28 billion invested in European and Israeli startups last year, over three the level seen in 2013. Of the overall funding, SaaS companies received more than 35 percent2. The global shift to the cloud has created new, cutting-edge technology that has fueled customer success across industries. IDC forecasts that the EMEA public cloud services market will more than double between 2018 and 2023, surpassing $105.3 billion in 20233.
“We see tremendous opportunity to invest in companies across Europe as this market continues to grow at scale,” said Miguel Milano, President, International at Salesforce. “At Salesforce, we focus on backing ambitious entrepreneurs who are building the most innovative solutions to support our customers’ digital transformation.”
With this new fund, Salesforce Ventures will continue to invest in companies at various stages of growth to provide Salesforce executive support, product alignment and financing as they scale. Investments to date include innovative enterprise companies in various industries, including retail, financial services, CPG and public sector:
- UK: GoCardless, Privitar and Onfido
- France: FinalCAD, Akeneo and SigFox
- Israel: Bringg, Forter and TechSee
- Germany: Wefox, Contentful and EMPAUA
- Rest of Europe: 4C, Unbabel and Carto
“As we scale our business internationally, making the right funding choices is critical for the team at GoCardless. It’s even more important to choose the right investment partners: not just for the funds, but for the deeper value those partners bring, through their expertise and ecosystem. Salesforce Ventures is a great investment partner for GoCardless. They are hugely supportive of our team, connecting us to the right people and proactively sharing best practices,” said Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO of GoCardless.
“Salesforce Ventures has been an invaluable partner, opening countless doors for us and acting as an advocate for our delivery orchestration platform and the customer experience we provide,” said Guy Bloch, CEO of Bringg. “But beyond our shared vision, Salesforce Ventures is also a committed partner with the expertise and the experience to work with companies that need to quickly scale and expand their operations. Having Salesforce Ventures as a partner has been a real x-factor in our own growth, and we welcome their increasing commitment to provide investment and support to European tech companies.”
“Salesforce Ventures has been instrumental for our growth in Europe and our expansion into the North American market, and they keep providing the best support and insights to address the typical challenges a B2B SaaS startup could face,” said Fred de Gombert, CEO and co-founder of Akeneo.
“Getting funded by Salesforce Ventures is a tremendous opportunity to work with a thoughtful investor partner with deep knowledge of enterprise customers and the journey a startup takes on its path to scaling to be a major enterprise itself. Bottom line, Salesforce Ventures helps us show customers we’re a well-backed company that will be here for the long haul,” said Sascha Konietzke, CEO of Contentful.
Continuous Investment and Growth in Europe
In 2015, Salesforce Ventures introduced its first $100 million investment commitment in Europe and brought on Alex Kayyal as partner and head of Europe to lead the fund. Since then, Salesforce Ventures has fully deployed this initial fund and backed more than 50 startups in 13 countries in Europe. As the most active Corporate VC in Europe, Salesforce Ventures will continue to make strategic investments to fuel momentum in the enterprise space. The growth of Salesforce Ventures is a testament to the company’s overall momentum — in 2018, Salesforce grew faster year-over-year than any other top 10 CRM vendor in EMEA and is #1 in CRM in EMEA based on market share4.