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Salesforce has launched a new Impact Fund aimed at investing in areas within the tech industry that the cloud-based enterprise software company believes are important but underemphasized.
The $100 million fund from Salesforce Ventures, the company’s global strategic investment arm, will support the growth of cloud companies that are tackling education and reskilling, climate action, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The fund also is open to companies that amplify the impact of nonprofits, foundations, and public sector customers through technology that increases efficiency and transparency.
Salesforce incorporates social responsibility, sustainability, and diversity into its investment process according to John Somorjai, EVP of Corporate Development and Salesforce Ventures. In a press release about the fund, he stated, “We want to support next-gen entrepreneurs developing solutions that drive digital transformation and customer success, and also improve the state of the world.”
Salesforce has placed an emphasis on philanthropic endeavors through what it calls the 1-1-1 model - it gives 1% of its product, 1% of its equity, and 1% of its employees' time to philanthropic causes and the non-profit sector. Using this approach the tech behemoth has been able to provide over $240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and provided product donations for more than 39,000 nonprofits and educational institutions.
To help shape its philanthropic impact and address challenges across workforce development, equality, sustainability, and the social sector, Salesforce turns to a key team led by Chief Impact Officer Suzanne DiBianca.
DiBianca’s full title is Chief Impact Officer and EVP of Corporate Relations, which means she leads Salesforce’s stakeholder strategy and drives positive social and environmental impact for the company, customers, partners, and community. She spearheads Salesforce's sustainability efforts, helps champion workforce innovation, and collaborates with Salesforce Ventures on the Impact Fund. Suzanne has worked at Salesforce for almost 20 years and helped pioneer the company’s 1-1-1 model.
As the Senior Director of Impact Investing, Claudine Emeott runs the company’s Impact Fund and works closely with DiBianca. Emeott joined Salesforce in 2017 and led the first iteration of the Salesforce Impact Fund, which, to date, has invested in over 25 companies. Prior to Salesforce, she spent five years at Kiva, where she led social enterprise investments and spearheaded a new impact measurement framework.
In a Q&A on the launch of the new Impact Fund, Emeott stated, “I hope that we continue to see more corporates launch impact investing initiatives, bringing more capital to bear in a time when it is so urgently needed.”
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