Salesforce Creates $50 Million Venture Fund for Developers

  • Money designed for software builders using ‘Lightning’ service
  • Company also unveils incubator for entreprenuers on platform

Salesforce.com Inc. is investing $50 million in startups that use its new software-development service, seeking to encourage more entrepreneurs to build applications.

The company’s corporate investing arm is using the fund to target entrepreneurs who access a system called “Lightning,” which is designed to make it simpler to build applications and components that customize -- or add to -- Salesforce’s products, the company said Tuesday in a statement. Investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Emergence Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners will join Salesforce to find startups for funding, the company said.

Salesforce -- which offers Lightning and other tools -- is trying to expand its network of developers using its services to help make its business productivity software more useful to customers with new applications. The company also unveiled plans for a new incubator for Lightning startups that’s set to open by the end of the year in the San Francisco area.

Already, Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 150 companies over the past several years, according to the company.

“We’re doubling down again with a whole new fund,” said Adam Seligman, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce’s App Cloud, in an interview. “The Lightning fund will create a whole new class of enterprise-cloud startups.”

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