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We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our new $250 million generative AI fund to bolster the startup ecosystem and spark the development of responsible generative AI.
Learn more about it from our team and companies within the fund here.
Today, we’re thrilled to introduce the Salesforce Ventures Innovation Advisory Board, a consortium of executives and technical leaders from leading public and private companies looking to solve their biggest technology pain points and enhance their digital transformations.
The Innovation Advisory Board (IAB) is a curated community where, alongside Salesforce Ventures, members will share insights, leverage decades of learnings from peers, and facilitate key connections to drive innovation in the enterprise technology ecosystem. Membership in the IAB provides Salesforce customers and industry leaders a unique vantage point into how innovative companies in our portfolio are transforming entire industries – and access to emerging technology products to scale their own transformations.
Meet the Members
The Salesforce Ventures Innovation Advisory Board is composed of prominent technology and innovation executives representing Salesforce customers across a broad range of industries – from banking and energy, to technology, consumer goods, and pharmaceuticals. Members include:
- Ajit Naidu, EVP, Chief Information Officer – Retirement, Marketing & Digital Client Technology, TIAA
- Chet Mandair, Chief Information Officer, Guidewire
- Clifford Foster, Head of Analytics, Healthcare, Google
- Diane Levin, Chief Information Officer, McCormick & Co.
- Eric Hansen, Chief Information Officer, Waste Connections
- Gil Perez, Chief Innovation Officer, Deutsche Bank
- Heath Price, Associate Chief Information Officer, University of Kentucky
- Janhavi Rao, Managing Director, Group Chief Technology Officer, Barclays
- Keith Robinson, Chairman, EMEA Technology Banking, Barclays
- Kirk Keaffaber, Head of Digital Health, Biomedicines, Eli Lilly
- Madura Wijewardena, Vice President, Strategic Development, Comcast
- Mike Juma, Managing Director, Head of Principal Trading Technology, UBS
- Noam Tasch, Global Head of Digital Partnerships & Strategic Investments, BNY Mellon
- Sanjay Chandra, Vice President, Information Technology, Lucid Motors
- Shvet Rawla, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships, FedEx Dataworks
- Vikram Somaya, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, PepsiCo
“The IAB has been a valued resource, providing us with unique insights and perspectives from emerging leaders and innovators in enterprise technology,” said Noam Tasch, Global Head of Digital Partnerships and Strategic Investments at BNY Mellon, and member of the IAB. “Closely engaging with top companies across multiple industries and business profiles – including Big Tech, startups, and the venture capital community – helps BNY Mellon keep its finger on the pulse of groundbreaking technologies and digital transformation strategies that ultimately drive value for our clients.”
“Today, consumers demand more relevant, personalized, and streamlined experiences as they quickly move between the physical and the virtual retail world. This transition requires a deep understanding of data and analytics – and increasingly complex management systems,” said Vikram Somaya, Chief Data and Analytics Officer for PepsiCo. “The IAB provides a forum for tech leaders that manage sensitive consumer data to learn from each other and work to improve data and analytics culture across industries.”
For companies in our portfolio, this is an opportunity to engage more closely with that broader ecosystem, building strategic partnerships and further driving digital transformation.
“Large enterprises are undergoing a fundamental shift in the ways they access and analyze data, and it has become increasingly important to dialogue with technology leaders at these companies to better understand the challenges they face,” said Justin Borgman, Chairman and CEO of Starburst, a Salesforce Ventures portfolio company, which presented to members at this year’s inaugural IAB Summit. “The IAB is a uniquely valuable platform for us to understand how our tools are being used and where there are opportunities to increase collaboration across the ecosystem.”
“The IAB has been a mutually beneficial forum where we can gather feedback from some of the industry’s most innovative data leaders to understand their data quality challenges as we further scale our product and the broader data observability category to meet these demands,” said
A Forum for the Enterprise Ecosystem
In an increasingly interconnected world, it is critical for business leaders to maintain ongoing dialogue around managing risk – from supply chain issues and labor shortages to tighter regulations around environmental impact and international trade. The IAB also offers members a forum to engage with peers across sectors to discuss macroeconomic, regulatory, environmental, and technological challenges facing every industry.
IAB members gather and meet through curated Emerging Technology Demo Days tailored for member companies and, for the first time this year, at the annual Innovation Summit. The inaugural summit featured panel discussions on a range of timely topics, including data democratization in large multinationals, use cases for blockchain and Web3 technologies, and frameworks for building, buying, or partnering for digital transformation.
Attendees at this year’s summit – including leaders from companies such as Deloitte, Eli Lilly, and TIAA – also had the opportunity to discuss the growing need for business process automation at scale, cloud data security, the digital customer experience, and how to empower a culture of innovation at large enterprises.
Since 2009, Salesforce Ventures has invested over $5 billion in leading enterprise technology companies at every stage in their journey, including Airtable, Databricks, DocuSign, Guild Education, Hopin, monday.com, nCino, Snowflake, Snyk, Stripe, Tanium, and Zoom. We believe that this ecosystem is only as strong as the partnership and feedback between these companies – innovators who are revolutionizing enterprise technology – and the companies leveraging that technology to improve their own businesses.
The Salesforce Ventures Innovation Advisory Board aims to be a long-term conduit of partnership and transformation in the enterprise technology ecosystem. In line with Salesforce’s core values – Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, Equality, and Sustainability – we aim to empower the growth and transformations of our customers, our portfolio, and the broader ecosystem.
At Salesforce, we believe that business is a powerful platform for change. We are guided by our core values of trust, customer success, innovation, and equality. As we navigate the current global health and economic crises that have amplified existing inequalities, our values become even more important.
Equality has always been a core value at Salesforce Ventures. We integrate our values, along with a commitment to social responsibility, into our investment and operating processes. We believe it is important to invest time, funding, and resources and leverage our platform to be a conduit for change and we know that addressing systemic inequality requires proactive, long-term, strategic policies and programs.
That is why today, in partnership with BLCK VC, Operator Collective, and UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, we are introducing Black Venture Institute, a new organization that aims to foster more equity and opportunity in the venture capital industry through education and access.
Announcing Black Venture Institute
Venture capital is an industry reliant upon access — access to the right network, access to the right knowledge, access to the right opportunity. It is no secret that the technology industry, and specifically venture capital, has an extremely low representation of Black professionals in technical, leadership, and investing roles. Only 1% of venture-backed startups have a Black founder and fewer than 3% of venture capital investors are Black.
Without intentional action, we are destined to fall into the same insular cycle that has delivered low representation in the past. It is our belief that by making venture capital knowledge and networks more accessible, we can help empower the Black technology community and provide a path to accelerate innovation, opportunity, and access.
Black Venture Institute provides an intensive education program and ongoing community dedicated to teaching Black operators the foundational elements to become angel and venture investors. The program enables participants to gain access to experienced, successful investors and learn the foundations of investing, including what investors look for, how to structure deals, and how to contribute as a board member or observer. There are roughly 75 Black check writers in venture capital today. Black Venture Institute will graduate 300 fellows in three years, to potentially 5x that number by 2023.
Black Venture Institute fellows will also be supported by the broader venture capital community and provided ongoing access and mentorship from leading VCs in the ecosystem. Bill Gurley of Benchmark, Ron Conway of SV Angel, Monique Woodard of Cake Ventures, Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures, and many more have already committed to participate in this program.
Our path forward
Over the years we have worked hard to serve as a vocal ally, as well as an active participant alongside partners aligned in leading the industry into a more equitable future for all. In a year that has brought us all multiple opportunities to reflect, Salesforce Ventures has taken the opportunity to more deeply assess our own internal practices.
A few months ago, Salesforce Ventures announced $100 million of intentional capital to empower cloud companies led by Black and underrepresented minority founders. Our goal is to increase the number of Black and underrepresented minority founders in the Salesforce Ventures portfolio by more than 3X by 2023.
We also continue to build upon strong relationships with investors, accelerators, and advocacy groups to contribute to the rebalancing of a more equitable system and lift up Black students and tech workers. Among the organizations we support are The Hidden Genius Project, BLCK VC, Culture Shift Labs, Black Women Talk Tech, and BOLDforce.
Salesforce Ventures will continue to support the Black community and take an active role in building a more diverse venture ecosystem and empowering Black founders, funders, and members of the tech community with all the tools we have at our disposal, including funding, guidance, sponsorships, and events.
If you are a Black or underrepresented minority founder building an enterprise cloud business and want to pitch Salesforce Ventures, please reach out to us here.
For information about Black Venture Institute, whether you are a VC that wants to join us or if you are a Black operator looking for more information on how you can apply, visit the website here.
For more information about how Salesforce is helping to drive systemic change in our workplace and community, please visit the website here.
I’m excited to announce that this morning Salesforce Ventures launched a new $100M Impact Fund to support innovative companies driving positive social change. In 2017, we launched our first $50M Impact Fund and today we’re expanding our commitment.
At Salesforce we’ve been committed to doing good as part of our business model since our founding. Over the last decade, Salesforce Ventures has not only invested and helped accelerate the growth of the most innovative cloud companies and founders globally, but we also lead with these same values — incorporating social responsibility, sustainability and diversity into our investment process.
There has arguably never been a more important moment for businesses to be a force for good.
We are in an unprecedented time as we face multiple intersecting crises — a health crisis, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a crisis of racial injustice. With this new fund, we will continue to invest in companies solving the world’s most pressing challenges and contributing towards a more resilient and inclusive economy — one that ensures the long-term wellness of citizens, drives job creation, protects against future shocks coming from climate change, and breaks down systemic barriers across race and gender.
Fueling Companies Driving Positive Social Change
As we reflect on the last few years, we are excited about the growth and impact of our portfolio companies and feel privileged to partner with them. We have invested in some of the most disruptive startups delivering solutions across education and reskilling, climate action, diversity, equity and inclusion, and enabling tech for nonprofits and foundations — including companies like Andela, Angaza, Ellevest, FutureFuel, Measurabl, pymetrics, Urbint, and Ureeka.
Some notable highlights include: Guild Education achieved a $1B valuation; Unite Us was named as the 2020 start-up to watch at the JP Morgan Health Conference; Ellevest launched a membership model to reach more customers and address the gender wealth gap; Flutterwave processed over 100 million transactions across Africa, and both AdmitHub and Samasource published compelling impact evidence from randomized control trials.
Continued Investment in Social Good
Impact investing is experiencing significant growth as businesses and investors increasingly aim to make real-world change and build a better future for all stakeholders. The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) estimates the market size at $715 billion, up more than 40 percent from last year. Based on a recent survey of nearly 300 impact investing organizations, the GIIN highlights the increasing depth and sophistication of the industry, as well as impact investors’ unique ability to tackle the world’s concurrent crises.
We are thrilled to watch the growth of the field, as a number of corporates, including influential companies like Citi and Amazon, have launched new impact funds in the last three years.
Partners in Success
Salesforce Ventures is the only strategic investor that is exclusively focused on backing enterprise cloud startups. With more than 400 investments globally, we have unique insight on how to build a successful SaaS business.
Importantly, our close relationship with Salesforce allows us to provide our portfolio with differentiated access to one of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies in the world, offering value beyond just capital, including go-to-market advice and customer introductions. Whether you’re looking for advice on pricing, customer success, product marketing, or how to hire at scale, we can expose you to the experts at Salesforce that run those domains internally.
With our new $100M Salesforce Ventures Impact Fund, we are excited to back the next generation of innovative companies driving positive social change. If you think we can be helpful on your journey, please get in touch — we would love to hear from you!
Visit our website at www.salesforce.com/ventures/impact for more and remember to follow us on Twitter at @salesforceVC or LinkedIn for the latest.
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