Salesforce Ventures Launches $100 Million Venture Fund

Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital arm of Salesforce.com (CRM on New York Stock Exchange), has announced the launch of a new $100 venture fund for startup investment in businesses involved in the development of mobile apps that are related to Salesforce products. The San Francisco-based SaaS company is best known for its cloud-based CRM products and AppExchange, a highly-regarded marketplace for cloud-based web apps.

For the past 5 years the Salesforce strategic venture fund has been heavily involved in investing in over 100 enterprise cloud startups under the 'Salesforce Ventures' brand. Among the new companies funded were Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Box, Dropbox, Evernote, Hubspot and Mulesoft.

Although initial investment amounts have not been disclosed, the new fund has already allocated startup funds to four new businesses.

These are: i.am+, a consumer products firm created by Black Eyed Peas member William Adams (Will.i.am) to create products involving a fusion of fashion and technology; DocuSign, enabling secure electronic exchanges of signed documents including contracts; Skuid, a scalable kit for user interface design (used to make Salesforce1 user apps); InsideSales.com – an automated sales lead firm.

Salesforce is also helping startups become more familiar with its products. It has just launched a new program known as 'Salesforce for Startups.' It is designed to help new startup companies use software to find and communicate with customers.

Part of the free service involves free access to the Salesforce1 mobile platform, and free use of service desk and customer-tracking software for one year. Hints have also been made that startup funding might be available for qualifying businesses.