TORONTO – Salesforce.com Inc. thinks Canada has the potential to become a world leader in the tech industry, and is putting its money where its mouth is.
On Thursday the CRM giant announced that Salesforce Ventures, its venture capital arm, would be investing $100 million USD into Canadian startups over the next five years, with a focus on companies innovating in the cloud and customer service sectors.
Salesforce president and CFO Mark Hawkins announced the investment during the company’s Salesforce World Tour conference in Toronto alongside Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.
“This investment is critical,” Bains said during the World Tour keynote, after touching on his government’s pursuit of an innovation agenda through such measures as $950 million in funding for so-called “superclusters.”
“We want Canada to be a global player when it comes to innovation,” Bains said. “So it’s incredible to see the consistency between what Salesforce is doing and our vision is as a government… I want to thank Salesforce for its commitment to Canada.”
For his part, Hawkins said his company “could not be more pleased to do business” with Canada, and that the Great White North could expect future investment.
“We got here just as soon as we could get out of our apartment in San Francisco when we were building this company,” he said.
The $100 million USD venture fund is part of a $2 billion USD investment in Canada over five years that Salesforce announced in February. Its Ventures arm has supported the Canadian startup community since 2011, with past recipients including online video platform developer Vidyard and lead generation software developer LeadSift.
The first round of recipients of what Salesforce is calling its “Trailblazers Fund” include:
- Tier1CRM: A provider of Salesforce-powered, cloud-based CRM solutions for the capital markets industry.
- Traction Guest: A developer of cloud-based visitor management systems that helps enterprises use Salesforce to reshape their workplace practices, improve security, and take advantage of visitor data.
- Tulip: A mobile application provider that integrates with Salesforce to help retail workers easily look up products, manage customer information, check out shoppers, and personalize the customer experience.
- OSF Commerce: A digital cloud transformation specialist that uses Salesforce to build multi-cloud and unified commerce projects.