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Salesforce Ventures Sets Up $50M Fund for AI Business Startups

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Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of cloud-computing giant Salesforce, has announced the launch of a $50 million fund dedicated to supporting startups focused on artificial intelligence (AI). This move comes as Salesforce intensifies its commitment to AI technologies, with Salesforce Einstein leading the way.

Salesforce Einstein, an AI-powered tool, celebrates its one-year anniversary, demonstrating the company’s commitment to harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence. More than 7,000 developers are currently engaged in building AI applications using Einstein’s capabilities, according to Matt Garratt, Vice President of Salesforce Ventures.

The surge of interest in AI within the technology sector has been remarkable. According to data from CB Insights, the number of deals associated with AI startups has grown significantly, rising from 150 in 2012 to 698 in 2016. In 2017, over $6.5 billion in capital has been invested across more than 650 deals, surpassing the $5.7 billion invested in nearly 1,000 deals in 2016.

When evaluating potential investments, Salesforce Ventures will first assess whether a startup can effectively leverage Salesforce technology to enhance its AI offerings. “Once we find that alignment, we look for a talented management team, innovative products that extend our offerings, large market opportunity, and a strong company vision that will resonate with our customers,” explained Garratt.

Apart from financial backing, the selected AI startups will also gain access to Salesforce’s extensive customer base and receive guidance from the company’s experienced executives.

The inaugural beneficiaries of the fund have already been revealed and include AI startups Highspot, Squirro, and TalkIQ. Salesforce Ventures has also shown support for All Turtles, an AI startup studio dedicated to assisting founding teams and businesses in the development of AI-centric products.

Salesforce’s strategic investment in the AI startup ecosystem is expected to further accelerate innovation and contribute to the ongoing growth of the artificial intelligence sector.

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