Thursday 23 May 2019 12:02 am

Salesforce's venture capital arm raises second European tech fund at $125m

The venture capital arm of Salesforce has closed its second fund for European tech startups at $125m (£98.7m), with a renewed focus on enterprise cloud.

Salesforce Ventures said it was the most active corporate VC in Europe last year, making investments across the spectrum in digital payments, artificial intelligence, and blockchain.

It follows the software giant's first fund, launched in Europe in 2015 at $100m. The Europe Trailblazers Fund will be led by Salesforce's investment team in London, with a "large focus" of the capital to be put on startups in the UK.

"The talent and skills in the UK are fantastic, with incredible engineers coming out of the universities and that's leading to more and more entrepreneurial opportunities," John Somorjai, European vice president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, told City A.M.

"It's also where more entepreneurs are choosing to reside, it’s international in nature and they can attract talent from all over the world to come and work here."

Previous British investments from Salesforce's first fund include Gocardless, Privitar and Onfido.

"There’s a ton of momentum and growth across the EU, but the UK is one of the only places that has the maturity to continue that," added Alex Kayyal, partner and head of Europe at Salesforce Ventures.

"The European startup ecosystem is growing in unprecedented ways, and the UK specifically continues to be a European market leader. It’s clear that the country is going to continue to grow and create even more innovative startups that will expand to global businesses."

Kayyal and Somorjai said Salesforce aims to invest in companies are "not only super disruptive, but also [produce] compelling use cases for our customers that have specific pain points".

"Ultimately, it has to do with our ecosystem of partners and it's our job to help accelerate them above and beyond traditional capital. The idea is not to replace VCs, but in order to build a big successful company, we need to add more value," said Kayyal.

"With the market presence and know-how we have, there’s a unique opportunity to benefit our customers and entrepreneurs in increasing their chances of success."

The move follows the firm's announcement of a $100m Trailblazer Fund for Canada, and a $50m fund for Australia.