The venture arm of the customer-relationship management provider now has nine companies valued at $1 billion or more in its investment portfolio, more than any other corporate VC. Google Ventures is not far behind with seven, research firm CB Insights reports.
San Francisco-based Salesforce Ventures announced a $100 million fund last year but has been investing in startups for about five years. The company now has more than 150 investments in 11 countries. Its venture arm bills itself as the only strategic fund focused entirely on enterprise cloud companies.
Unicorns in Salesforce's portfolio include note-taking app Evernote, software company MuleSoft and database company MongoDB. The company has never invested in a unicorn before the Series B stage.
Salesforce began backing companies as part of a strategy to expand the use of its cloud enterprise software.
"We want to grow an innovative ecosystem of partners that would extend the power of the Salesforce platform," says Salesforce head of corporate development John Somorjai. "We’re going to be introducing them into our very large base of customers and we need to make sure not only that they’re successful, but that our customers feel like they’re getting a great solution."
On Wednesday, Salesforce Ventures invested in data science company Radius Intelligence as part of a $50 million Series D round. Radius's software helps clients acquire customers by predicting which markets the companies should go after. The investment is symbolic of Salesforce's desire to invest more in data science.
"There’s this massive amount of data that’s out there and you need business intelligence and analytics to analyze what is happening very quickly and make decisions," Somorjai says. "That’s a big area of focus for us with our analytics cloud product, and we’re investing in a number of partners around that area."
While Salesforce may be invested in most unicorns among corporate VCs, Google Ventures has the edge in terms of valuations. Salesforce's highest-valued company, Dropbox, is currently valued at $10 billion, while Google Ventures portfolio company Uber has a $41 billion valuation.
During the second quarter of 2015, some 24 new companies gained unicorn status, bringing the total number to 123, according to CB Insights. The combined valuation of these companies now stands at $460 billion.