Salesforce.com has now been doing business for over 15 years. And as the customer-relationship management and cloud computing giant has expanded its reach, Salesforce has intensified its pace of venture and strategic investments into both emerging upstarts with strategic value as well as later-stage companies on the Tech IPO Pipeline. Of note, Salesforce’s deal pace hit a four-year high in 2013 and appears poised to hit a new high in 2014 at the current run rate.
We analyzed CB Insights financing data to understand the stage, industry and geographic characteristics of Salesforce’s investment trends. We also examined the 10 most well-funded portfolio companies that Salesforce is backing which include Tech IPO Pipeline companies like MuleSoft, MongoDB and Box. The data below.
Salesforce.com Private Tech Investment Trend
Since 2010, Salesforce has participated in at least 56 deals totaling $1.02 billion in disclosed funding. 2014 has already seen Salesforce participate in 7 deals including BI platform Domo’s huge $125M round and big rounds to pre-IPO firms DocuSign and MuleSoft. Of note, 2013 saw Salesforce up its deal tally by 100% compared to 2012 and 2011 levels.
Salesforce.com Private Tech Investment Trend By Sub-Industry
As more CRM platforms emerge which may either be vertically-specific or platform-specific solutions, Salesforce has been actively investing in what could be seen as potential disruptors taking stakes in 14 different CRM-related startups over the past four years including Selligy, Tylr Mobile and China-based CRM 800App. Another 16% of Salesforce’s unique company investments went to the Business, Intellgence, Analytics & Performance Management sub-industry.
Salesforce.com Private Tech Investment Trend By Stage
Interestingly, Salesforce has made investments across the maturity spectrum. Nearly 20% of deals that Salesforce has completed over the period each went to either the seed-stage or late-stage (Series D+). Since 2010, Salesforce has completed its highest share of deals at the Series A stage which took just over 22% of its transactions.
Salesforce.com Private Tech Investment Trend By Geography
Looking at the U.S. deals that Salesforce has participated in, we see that California-based companies took 7 of every 10 of the company’s deals over the period, followed by a couple deals each to states including Mass, NY and Oregon. Salesforce has also ventured internationally to make equity investments in countries including in Japan, Ireland, Israel and China.
Below are the top 10 most well-funded private tech companies that Salesforce.com has invested in. The list is topped by soon-to-IPO cloud storage vendor Box, which Salesforce invested in at the Series D stage in 2011. The top 3 is rounded out by fellow pipeline companies Domo Technologies and MongoDB with several other potentially IPO-bound late-stage companies including Hubspot, Mulesoft and Docusign also on the list. While many corporate investors explicitly look for strategic and financial upside from private company investments, not all of the investments below scream “strategic” in relation to Salesforce so it does seem the cloud giant does look at deals on a financial basis akin to financial VCs or even some of the more financially-oriented corporate VCs like Intel Capital or Google Ventures.
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