Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of customer relationship management (CRM) software company Salesforce, has launched the US$50 million ($70.5 million) Australia Trailblazer Fund to invest in local startups.
Launched in 2009, Salesforce Ventures is focused on enterprise cloud companies that can “extend the power of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform”, or that are part of its ecosystem. In turn, its portfolio companies are often Salesforce Partners or startups whose products connect to its own.
It has invested in more 300 startups in 20 countries over the last decade, among them Australian companies including crowdsourced security company Bugcrowd and Praficti, a business management platform for financial services.
The likes of Dropbox, Twilio, Stripe, and Optimizely also count Salesforce Ventures as an investor.
John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, said, ““Digital transformation is impacting businesses around the world and companies need to innovate faster and smarter to meet customer expectations today.
“Salesforce Ventures recognises the incredible opportunity to invest in Australian entrepreneurs to create world-class startups that will grow the opportunity within the Salesforce ecosystem and deliver customer success.”
Casey Ellis, chairman, founder, and CTO of Bugcrowd, said it fills him with pride to “see Salesforce stepping up into my home country like this”.
“The establishment of Salesforce Ventures in Australia speaks volumes of the calibre of Australian entrepreneurs, as well as their forward-looking attitude,” he said.
“Alongside the capital, this move will deepen the availability of Salesforce’s considerable technical and partnership resources to Australian entrepreneurs, which will help fuel the process of supporting Australia’s talent and accelerate local innovations into the global market.”
The Salesforce Ventures fund is the latest funding boost for Australia, with Sydney venture capital firm Equity Venture Partners last month raising $35 million to close its second fund. The firm will be looking to invest in early-stage business-to-business (B2B) software companies.
According to the latest Venture Pulse report from KPMG, VC investment in local startups grew to $1.25 billion in 2018, up 36 percent on 2017, with $147.1 million raised across just 15 deals in the last quarter of the year.
Image: John Somorjai.