Salesforce Ventures, BoxGroup, and 500 Startups top the list.
Deal count to sales tech startups reached an all-time high in 2016, with 425 deals across over $5B in funding to sales tech startups.
Using CB Insights data, we ranked the most active investors into unique sales tech startups since 2012, including venture capital, corporate venture, and super angel investors.
We define the sales tech category broadly to include companies developing tech-enabled solutions that directly serve sales teams or improve upon the sales process, as well as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms. We also include companies that improve upon customer experience, engagement, and booking processes for companies in the restaurant, travel, health, and other industries. We exclude companies that primarily focus on tech-enabled marketing or advertising.
Click image to enlarge.
*Exited companies are included in the above graphic.
Some takeaways from our infographic:
- Unsurprisingly, Salesforce Ventures claimed the top spot as the most active investor in the sales tech category. The corporate venture arm invested in 34 unique sales tech companies since 2012. Its most recent unique sales tech company investment was just this year, when Salesforce Ventures participated in a $20M Series A round of funding to customer engagement-focused commerce platform CloudCraze, which is native to Salesforce.
- In second place was BoxGroup, with 10 unique investments. BoxGroup’s most recent deals went to CRM platform Kustomer and to Angel.ai, which offers a platform to improve the customer experience through natural language processing. Since BoxGroup’s investment in Q3’15, Angel.ai was acquired by Amazon (for its talent) in Q3’16.
- In third and fourth place were 500 Startups and SV Angel, respectively. 500 Startups was a recurring investor to sales enablement platform ToutApp and client relationship management platform Contactually, participating in three rounds of funding to both companies. SV Angel invested in TalkIQ, a conversation intelligence platform that provides key AI-driven insights to sales teams using tools such as voice recognition and natural language processing (also used by Angel.ai, mentioned above), highlighting the relevance of AI in the sales tech space.
- Among the top investors, the two largest disclosed sales tech deals since 2012 were a $108M Series C round of funding to Apttus in Q3’15, and a $100M Series C round of funding to InsideSales.com in Q2’14. Both rounds included Salesforce Ventures as investors. The third-largest round of funding among the most active investors was another deal to InsideSales.com and a $60M Series D round to customer support platform Zendesk in Q3’12, which included Redpoint Ventures. Zendesk’s IPO took place roughly 20 months later in Q2’14.
- The top investors featured have a number of cross-over investments in sales tech companies. Some of the more popular companies among the top investors include customer feedback platform Tello (500 Startups, SV Angel, and True Ventures) which was acquired by Urban Airship in Q4’12; customer communication platform Intercom (BoxGroup and 500 Startups), and CRM and email platform Rewardly, known as Streak.com (BoxGroup and Redpoint Ventures).
- Of the sales tech companies invested in by Salesforce Ventures, only one, Helpshift, is listed in the portfolios of any of the other top investors in the infographic.
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