Salesforce creates $125m fund to give European cloud start-ups a boost

People in meeting using the cloud

Salesforce is making $125 million available to cloud start-ups across Europe, in a move it hopes will have a knock-on effect on organisations' digital transformation initiatives in the region.

The launch of the new Trailblazer Fund by the cloud giant's investment arm, Salesforce Ventures, follows historic $100 million-plus in funding already awarded to 50 start-ups spanning 13 European countries.

"Europe is a clear leader in cloud technology today, and we are excited to deepen our investment in the region," said John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures.

"Our commitment to European startups reflects the growth of innovation, our belief in the local entrepreneurs and our focus on creating the world's largest ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies to drive customer success."

A whopping €28 billion was invested in European and Israeli startups in 2018 - three times growth that of the investments made in 2013, according to Dealroom. SaaS firms were the main beneficiaries of this funding, receiving more than one-third of the cash.

This funding growth shows the growing appetite for cloud-based solutions and services. Indeed, analyst firm IDC predicts that the public cloud services market in EMEA will surpass $105.3 billion come 2023 - more than doubling between in the five years post 2018.

"We see tremendous opportunity to invest in companies across Europe as this market continues to grow at scale," added Miguel Milano, president of international at Salesforce.

"At Salesforce, we focus on backing ambitious entrepreneurs who are building the most innovative solutions to support our customers’ digital transformation."

Entrepreneurs the company has previously invested in include GoCardless, Onfido and Privitar in the UK specifically.

"As we scale our business internationally, making the right funding choices is critical for the team at GoCardless. It’s even more important to choose the right investment partners: not just for the funds, but for the deeper value those partners bring, through their expertise and ecosystem," said Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO of GoCardless.

"Salesforce Ventures is a great investment partner for GoCardless. [It is] hugely supportive of our team, connecting us to the right people and proactively sharing best practices."

Salesforce Ventures claims it was the most active corporate venture capitalist in Europe in 2018.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.