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How much would you give to fuel mobile innovation? Salesforce says USD 100 million.

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Salesforce.com, the world’s #1 CRM platform, recently announced that Salesforce Ventures—the company’s global corporate investment group— has launched the new Salesforce1 Fund to fuel mobile innovation for the Internet of Customers (i.e. the people behind the devices)

The value? USD 100 million.

The Salesforce1 Fund is the first dedicated fund from Salesforce Ventures to invest in companies and support entrepreneurs who extend the power of the Salesforce1 Platform to build next generation mobile apps and connected products.

What’s in it for Salesforce’s portfolio companies?

The most obvious benefit for portfolio companies would be funding to accelerate their growth. But Salesforce sees its latest venture as something beyond funding, and partnership is the word. Companies would also gain a competitive edge through access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of salesforce.com’s innovators and executives.

“Salesforce Ventures gives us more than just funding—we’ve got an inside track to the Salesforce ecosystem,” said Keith Krach, CEO, DocuSign. “Partnering with salesforce.com early on gave us the ability to bring the global standard for Digital Transaction Management to more enterprise customers around the globe to help them keep their business 100 percent digital.”

John Somorjai, EVP of Corporate Development and Strategy of Salesforce, has this to add, “The Salesforce1 Fund will empower the most innovative startups in the industry to develop transformative technologies for salesforce.com’s customer platform. Our commitment to helping the next generation of startups grow and give back to their communities has never been stronger.”

The fund has already invested in its first wave of companies, including DocuSign, i.am+, InsideSales.com and Skuid.

Making philanthropy a part of everyday business

With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage the expertise of the Salesforce.com Foundation to incorporate its 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy to make giving back part of their business model.

The 1-1-1 model refers to leveraging one percent of the company’s product, equity and time for social good, and has been adopted by Salesforce Ventures’ portfolio companies including Appirio, Box, FinancialForce, GetFeedback.com, NewVoiceMedia.

According to Suzanne DiBianca, president of the Salesforce.com Foundation, this is a step towards changing the world by inspiring early-stage corporate philanthropy and creating an ecosystem of portfolio companies that are committed to giving back as they grow. 

Salesforce is no newbie when it comes to investing in promising companies. Since 2009, it has invested in more than 100 enterprise cloud startups, including DropBox and Evernote. And with its new move, it seems like the largest customer relationship software company is on its way to becoming a force to contend with.

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