For the past 10 years Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce’s global corporate investment arm, has invested in more than 300 enterprise technology companies across 20 countries. In 2018, we completed a record 95 investments globally and, for the second year in a row, invested more outside of California than within California.
In 2018, Salesforce Ventures completed 95 investments and 75% of those were outside of California.
Just recently, we were also named the number two most active corporate venture capital firm globally and the number one most active corporate venture firm here in Europe, which is a true testament to the incredible entrepreneurs we’ve been able to support here. We’ve long believed that innovation can come from anywhere in the world. Our activity across Europe is a reflection of that entrepreneurial energy expanding beyond the borders of Silicon Valley. Having been on this side of the pond for some time now, it’s also personally gratifying seeing so many great companies emerge out of Europe.
And that’s why today, I’m excited to share the launch of our new $125M Europe Trailblazer Fund to continue our momentum in Europe and invest in the best European enterprise technology startups and seed innovation, expand the Salesforce ecosystem and drive customer success.
The European startup ecosystem is growing in unprecedented ways. Ten years ago, the region was less mature, especially regarding enterprise-based companies. Now, with access to funding, experts, and more developers in Europe than the U.S., the market has taken off.
Over €28 billion was invested in European and Israeli startups last year, representing over a three times growth compared to the level in 2013. Of the overall funding, SaaS companies received more than 35 percent.
Looking at the UK specifically, the country continues to be the European market leader. Startups represent growth engines for the UK economy and have attracted investment of around €7 billion in 2018. The UK is a great launchpad for companies on a global scale with over 35% of Europe and Israel's unicorn tech companies (>$1 billion valuation) having been created in the UK to date.
Taking this into account alongside having some of the best academic institutions for tech in the world and attracting 5% of the world’s top tech talent (ranking the UK 4th globally just behind the US, India, and China), it’s clear that the country is in a great position to maintain its success.
Digital Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said: "The UK has a long history of innovation and it is great to see Salesforce Ventures supporting our startups to grow.
"Companies such as Salesforce want to be here because we have one of the world’s leading digital economies, we are home to some of the brightest global minds and we have a fantastic business environment.
"We are working hard to continue this success and remain committed to making Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business.”
I’m often asked what Salesforce Ventures looks for when we make an investment. As a strategic investor, we invest in enterprise software companies that are relevant to the Salesforce ecosystem. For example, last year we invested in AI-enabled apps, industry verticals, machine-based translation, fraud prevention, content management, and enterprise blockchain to name a few. As Salesforce’s footprint continues to grow with a bigger product portfolio of our own, the areas of strategic interest for us have also expanded.
In my four years with Salesforce Ventures, I have been lucky to partner with incredible startups and ambitious entrepreneurs, including innovative companies here in the UK such as GoCardless, Gospel, Privitar, Onfido, and Qubit.
Our goal is to help our portfolio companies grow alongside us in the UK, across Europe and in North America.
“As we scale our business, we think it’s really valuable to get input and support from one of the most successful SaaS companies in the world and to leverage the network in other Salesforce Ventures-funded businesses,” says Hiroki Takeuchi, Co-Founder, and CEO of GoCardless. “They’re happy to make introductions and connect us to the right people, and they’ve been really proactive in sharing best practices. They get it.”
“Partnering with Salesforce Ventures puts access to a world of business expertise and acumen at your fingertips. From making important introductions to offering technical advice and strategic thinking around new market opportunities,” says Husayn Kassai, CEO of Onfido. “Salesforce Ventures doesn’t just bring the investment but offers the complete package.”
Our Europe Trailblazer Fund is all about investing in innovation. If you are an enterprise technology startup in the UK, we want to hear from you. Visit Salesforce Ventures to share your details with us and remember to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest news and insights.