ImpactAlpha, Oct. 6 – Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is a vocal proponent of ‘stakeholder capitalism’ and the company was a pioneer in corporate impact investing. Now, Salesforce is committing $100 million to a second impact fund inside its corporate venture arm, Salesforce Ventures (see, “SoftBank, Salesforce and Orange signal corporate venture capital’s tilt towards impact investing”).
Fund 2, like its $50 million predecessor, will invest in cloud computing companies that target climate action, diversity and inclusion, education and reskilling, and nonprofit services – and use Salesforce’s products. “We believe business can be a powerful platform for change,” Salesforce’s Suzanne DiBianca, the firm’s chief impact officer, said in a statement. “Salesforce will invest in companies solving the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.”
- Round one. The company’s first impact fund has backed more than 25 companies since 2017, including sustainability startups Bloc Power and Measurabl, education and skills companies Guild and Future Fuel, and economic empowerment startups Ureeka and Juntos. The fund has exited microscholarship company RaiseMe (to CampusLogic), grassroots text-messaging platform Hustle (to Social Capital) and nonprofit fundraising solution foundCorner (to Salesforce.org).
- Corporate impact venturing. Corporations poured a record $58 billion into 3,234 venture deals last year. “By marrying the scope of CVC and logic of impact investing, a growing field of corporate investors are seeking to generate financial return, strategic value, and impact,” Orange Silicon Valley’s Moses Choi wrote in a widely read ImpactAlpha post earlier this year. Amazon and Microsoft, along with Citi, Merck, Splunk and Unilever have launched efforts to invest with impact-oriented theses.