Salesforce Ventures, the corporate investment arm of Salesforce, a global leader in customer relationship management (CRM), has launched a $50 million impact investment fund to accelerate the growth of companies using Salesforce technology to address challenges across workforce development, equality, sustainability and the social sector.
“At Salesforce, we’ve been committed to doing good as part of our business model since our founding and pioneering of the 1-1-1 model,” said Suzanne DiBianca, EVP of Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer at Salesforce. “The Salesforce Impact Fund allows us to support a new generation of startups that are focused on driving positive social change.”
Businesses can be powerful platforms for change, and the launch of the Salesforce Impact Investment Fund aims to catalyze the growth of companies that are building products and solutions to benefit society. The fund focuses on supporting businesses innovating across four key areas:
- Workforce development: Enabling equal access to education to prepare students and the workforce for jobs of the future.
- Equality: Developing tools that promote equal opportunity and economic empowerment for women and underrepresented groups.
- Sustainability: Creating better access to clean energy, improving resource efficiency and increasing supply chain performance.
- Social Sector: Amplifying impact for nonprofits and NGOs through technology that increases efficiency and transparency.
The impact fund builds on Salesforce’s previous investments in companies driving positive social and environmental change and aligns with the group’s charter to strategically invest in companies built on the Salesforce Platform, delivering unique capabilities to Salesforce customers.
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Receiving funding for its work towards furthering sustainability, San Francisco, California and Nairobi, Kenya-based Angaza is a pay-as-you-go technology that aims to make solar energy affordable to everyone via seamless financing technology. The SaaS platform enables manufacturers and distributors to make clean energy products more affordable to the world’s one billion off-grid consumers.
Ellevest is one of the first startups to receive funding from the impact fund’s equality arm. The investment platform is designed by and for women and aims to solve the gender investment gap. Ellevest is built upon extensive ethnographic research and interviews with women, and offers a modern, engaging user experience to help women meet their financial goals.
Hustle, a peer-to-peer text messaging platform, scored funding in the social sector category. The technology enables non-profits, educational institutions and advocacy groups to connect with donors and constituents at scale.
On the workforce development front, ViridisLearning is striving to facilitate career discovery, create career pathways and ensure learning aligns with 21st century workforce needs through a SaaS platform that uses machine learning and predictive analysis.
“The launch of Salesforce’s $50 million impact investment fund is yet another data point of the growing momentum of the field. With expertise in both venture capital and a fundamental commitment to impact, Salesforce is extremely well-positioned to achieve both financial returns and social impact at scale,” said Matt Bannick, managing partner at the Omidyar Network. “We applaud Salesforce in launching this fund and look forward to continuing to provide support and to co-invest with the team.”
Salesforce Ventures invests in the next generation of enterprise technology to extend the power of the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform to help companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Focused on building the world's #1 cloud computing ecosystem, Salesforce Ventures is the most active investor in the Forbes Cloud 100 list.
Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world's largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce's innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce's expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 250 enterprise cloud startups in 14 different countries since 2009.