After twenty years of Salesforce, what Marc Benioff got right and wrong about the cloud

As we enter the 20th year of Salesforce, there’s an interesting opportunity to reflect back on the change that Marc Benioff created with the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for enterprise software with his launch of Salesforce.com. This model has been validated by the annual revenue stream of SaaS companies, which is fast approaching $100 billion by most estimates, and it will likely continue to transform many slower-moving industries for years to come. However, for the cornerstone market in IT — large enterprise-software deals — SaaS represents less than 25 percent of total revenue, according to most market estimates. This split is even evident in the most recent high profile “SaaS” acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft, with over 50 percent of GitHub’s revenue coming from the sale of their on-prem offering, GitHub Enterprise.   Data privacy and
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In Canada’s cloud services market, venture investment opportunities abound

Canada will be home to a new venture capital fund that will invest in enterprise cloud startups. Its backer? Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce, a leading cloud-hosted business software provider. According to a recent press release from Salesforce, the $100 million Canada Trailblazer Fund has already taken stakes in four Canadian startups building cloud-based tools for the enterprise, including Tier1CRM, Traction Guest, Tulip and OSF Commerce. (Disclosure: Salesforce’s venture arm is an investor in Crunchbase News’s parent, Crunchbase. As with all investors in Crunchbase, Salesforce Ventures has zero input in the operation or coverage of the News team.) The companies mentioned above join a handful of other Canadian enterprise cloud companies in Salesforce’s broader investment portfolio. In the years prior to announcing the new Canada Trailblazer Fund, Salesforce Ventures made investments in Aislelabs, Vidyard and
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The mystery of the public marketplace

The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb. Both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of VC investment in similar business models over the past several years. But despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS.

The mystery of the public marketplace

Note: This is the second article in a three-part series on valuation thoughts for common sectors of venture capital investment. The first article, which attempts to make sense of the SaaS revenue multiple, can be found here. The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb, checking in with valuations of $69 billion and $31 billion, respectively (according to the Crunchbase Unicorn leaderboard). Like some of the most valuable companies in the world (Alibaba, Facebook, and Google), both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of venture capital investment in similar business models over the past several years. However, despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS — as of early January 2018, there were 42 publicly traded billion-dollar SaaS companies*, whereas only 14 marketplaces have broken
Continue reading "The mystery of the public marketplace"

The mystery of the public marketplace

 The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb. Both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of VC investment in similar business models over the past several years. But despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS. Read More

India’s Capillary Technologies raises $20M from Warburg Pincus and Sequoia

 Capillary Technologies, an India-based startup that helps e-commerce businesses manage their marketing and customer engagement, has pulled in $20 million in fresh funding from existing investors Warburg Pincus and Sequoia. The company said it plans to use the capital to develop its products and R&D, including a new focus on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space where it works… Read More

Intello scores $1.3 million seed round for SaaS management platform

 While the cloud removes much of the hassle and complexity associated with maintaining and managing an application, that ease of use means you can lose control of your usage and spending just as easily. Intello wants to help your company track and manage all of that information in a dashboard. Today, it announced $1.3 million in seed funding. Up until now, companies tend to track this data using… Read More

Understanding the Mendoza Line for SaaS growth

“How fast do I need to be growing to be interesting to a venture investor?” This is a question we get asked all the time by CEOs, and we realize “it depends” is not the most actionable answer to give. Instead, we have come up with a simple model that allows us to give a clear numerical answer to this question.

Understanding the Mendoza Line for SaaS growth

 “How fast do I need to be growing to be interesting to a venture investor?” This is a question we get asked all the time by CEOs, and we realize “it depends” is not the most actionable answer to give. Instead, we have come up with a simple model that allows us to give a clear numerical answer to this question. Read More

Getting to the root of the revenue multiple

Valuation concerns are top of mind for many investors. For those in tech investing, this concern is perhaps most acute, given the generally high multiples assigned to the sector. There are good articles addressing how revenue multiples have moved over time or why this methodology even came to be, but I'm still curious as to how a revenue multiples ties to some fundamental unit of company value.