American tech giant Salesforce has launched a $70 million-plus venture capital fund in Australia, but funding will only go towards startups in the company’s own “ecosystem”.
The $US50 million Australia Trailblazer Fund was launched by the cloud computing solutions titan at its own world tour conference in Sydney on Wednesday.
To be eligible to receive funding, a startup must integrate with or be built on the Salesforce platform, or implement Salesforce technology.
Salesforce launched its own venture arm a decade ago, and has other funds based in Canada, Japan and Europe, along with the US. Salesforce Ventures has already invested in Australian startups like Bugcrowd, Autopilot and Sqware Peg.
The aim of the fund is to “empower Australian startups in the Salesforce ecosystem”, Salesforce Ventures EVP of corporate development John Somorjai said
“Digital transformation is impacting businesses around the world and companies need to innovate faster and smarter to meet customer expectations today. Salesforce Ventures recognises the incredible opportunity to invest in Australian entrepreneurs to create world-class startups that will grow the opportunity within the Salesforce ecosystem and deliver customer success,” Mr Somorjai said in a statement.
There is no set timeframe for when the fund will be completed, and the company is open to investing in early-stage or more established startups.
Salesforce Ventures partner Rob Keith has been appointed to run the Australian fund and will be moving to Sydney.
Federal minister for trade, tourism and investment Simon Birmingham is also quoted on the Salesforce press release announcing the new fund.
“Initiatives such as Salesforce Ventures’ new $US50 million Australia Trailblazer Fund provide the valuable support and investment needed for startups to scale, employ Australians and see their great ideas become great businesses,” Senator Birmingham said in the statement.
“I congratulate Salesforce on its commitment to Australia with the launch of this new fund, and look forward to seeing the home-grown startups it supports scale and succeed at home and internationally.”
Salesforce’s venture arm now has a portfolio of more than 240 companies, and invested in 95 businesses last year.