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What Companies Does Marc Benioff Own?
Learn more about which companies Marc Benioff owns outright or has shares in.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff speaks on April 6 in San Francisco, to celebrate the milestone “Topping Off” of Salesforce Tower San Francisco. Courtesy of Salesforce.
By Anna Bradley-Smith
8 minute read

Marc Benioff is a man who needs no introduction to those in the software and tech worlds… and many outside of them.

The larger-than-life internet entrepreneur, a fourth generation San Franciscan, is known around the world for the success of the enterprise cloud computing company he founded in 1999, Salesforce.

Since starting his career in Silicon Valley straight out of university, Benioff has gone on to become one of its richest members, with a current net worth of around $8.2 billion.

On top of being the founder and CEO at Salesforce, Benioff also owns a number of other companies, many of which are under the Salesforce umbrella, and he is also an angel investor for dozens of tech startups. Something Benioff takes particular pride in is his philanthropic efforts, which span everything from public education funding, to fighting climate change, to battling LGBTQ discrimination.

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What is Benioff’s background?

Benioff, born in 1964, showed his flair for tech early. He funded his way through the University of Southern California with earnings from games he developed under his company, Liberty Software — which he launched at just 15.

At university, Benioff had an internship as a programmer at Apple, and on graduating he went straight to a job at Oracle Corporation. At 23, he was named Oracle’s Rookie of the Year and three years later he became the company’s youngest vice-president ever.

He stayed with Oracle for 13 years, becoming close friends with founder Larry Ellison.

But, at 31, Benioff asked Ellison to go on a six-month sabbatical to Hawaii, where he studied meditation and yoga, and ultimately envisioned Salesforce as a new way for companies to do business.


With the support of a number of employees that came with him from Oracle, Benioff founded Salesforce in 1999 as the first SaaS company around. Rather than providing programs that had to be installed on machines, Benioff had the visionary idea to create software hosted on the internet that would be supplied via subscription, saving companies resources, time and money.

Salesforce provides customer relationship management software and applications focused on sales, customer service, marketing automation, analytics and application development. Under Benioff’s leadership, it has become the top provider of customer relationship management software globally and one of the world's fastest-growing enterprise software companies. Between 2010 and 2020 only one other Fortune 500 company experienced higher sales growth: Facebook. Today, Salesforce is a Fortune 150 company with 75,000 employees.

It has been recognized as the Most Innovative Company by Forbes, and a Best Place to Work and the 10th Most Admired Company in the World by Fortune. Benioff himself was named “Innovator of the Decade” by Forbes and is recognized as one of the World’s 25 Greatest Leaders by Fortune, one of the 10 Best-Performing CEOs by Harvard Business Review, and as the CNN Business CEO of 2020.

Overall, Benioff owns between 3 to 4 percent of the cloud computing software company.

What companies does Marc Benioff own?

Having a substantial slice of Salesforce’s ownership means Benioff in turn owns portions of all of its many subsidiaries. Over the years, the company has acquired around 70 others in order to develop and add to its service offerings. Here, we’ll explore some of its most important acquisitions, as well as other notable companies Benioff has partial ownership of or investments in.


Inarguably Salesforce’s most high profile acquisition is one of its most recent ones: workplace communication tool, Slack.

The $27.7 billion acquisition gives Salesforce the chance to completely rethink how customers use its tools through a totally new interface, and Benioff has referred to the pairing as “the perfect match.”

As hundreds of millions of workers around the world went remote with the pandemic last year, Slack was well positioned to fill the gaps as the new means of office communication — and that it did. Not only did it see users surge above 12 million per day, with more than 169,000 companies signing on as paid users, it attracted 65 of the Fortune 100 companies — and of course there was the acquisition. At the time of the acquisition, Benioff said: “We couldn’t be more excited to have Slack as part of the Salesforce family, combining the #1 CRM and the trailblazing digital platform for the work-from-anywhere world.

“Together we’ll define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.”

Click Software

In August, 2019, Salesforce acquired ClickSoftware, in a move that did not come as a surprise given how closely the two companies had worked in the past.

Acquiring ClickSoftware, a leader in field service management solutions, gives Salesforce the opportunity to enhance its Service Cloud’s leadership, empowering every service employee to deliver more connected, intelligent customer service, Salesforce said. “As customer service continues to evolve, the acquisition of ClickSoftware will create strategic synergies, technological unity and new innovation opportunities for Salesforce to better meet the needs of existing and new customers around the world by providing one seamless field service solution,” the company said of the acquisition.


In 2018, Salesforce acquired software company Mulesoft for $6.5 billion. In the move, Salesforce got both MuleSoft’s technology — with which it helps customers integrate data from a variety of applications, including Salesforce-made software and tools made by other vendors — and its large customer base, including Barclays, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Target and many more.

According to TechCrunch, Mulesoft’s creation of APIs that connect different systems is beneficial to Salesforce in many ways, including providing a bridge to its older software, allowing Salesforce and its users to access data wherever it is.


Salesforce acquired Demandware, an industry-leading provider of enterprise cloud commerce solutions, for $2.8 billion in 2016. Today, it’s known as Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud.

The acquisition helped Salesforce get a hold of the multi-billion dollar digital commerce market and it has allowed the company’s Customer Success Platform to become an industry leader. “Demandware is an amazing company—the global cloud leader in the multi-billion dollar digital commerce market,” said Benioff at the time of the acquisition.

“With Demandware, Salesforce will be well positioned to deliver the future of commerce as part of our Customer Success Platform and create yet another billion dollar cloud.”


Before Salesforce acquired ExactTarget for $2.5 billion in 2013, the email marketing company had been in existence for 13 years. The acquisition allowed Salesforce to build out its enterprise marketing suite and eventually develop Marketing Cloud, which has more than 15 products.

At the time of the acquisition, Salesforce said ExactTarget would further the company’s mission of being the world’s leading CRM platform—"one that enables companies to transform how they connect with their customers across sales, service, and marketing.”

“By combining ExactTarget’s leading digital marketing capabilities with’s leading sales, service and social marketing solutions, will create a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the web.”


In an acquisition totally unrelated to Salesforce, but that still drew international headlines, Benioff — with his wife Lynne — bought media brand Time for $190 million in 2018.

The couple said Time was a family investment, unrelated to Salesforce, adding that they were themselves "caretakers” of the respected publication. "We are honored to be the caretakers of one of the world's most important media companies and iconic brands."

Benioff added in a statement that "Lynne and I will take on no operational responsibility for Time, and look only to be the stewards of this historic and iconic brand."

“The power of Time has always been in its unique storytelling of the people & issues that affect us all & connect us all. A treasure trove of our history & culture.”


Benioff has been quoted many times for his words on philanthropy, but one that sums up his position is: “The business of business is improving the state of the world.”

In 2000, a year after he launched Salesforce, Benioff launched the philanthropic arm of the company, Salesforce Foundation. The company and the foundation follow a “1-1-1” model that Benioff championed: The company puts 1% of its equity into its foundation each year, allocates 1% of its employees’ time to volunteer work each year, and donates 1% of its product to nonprofits each year.

Benioff and Lynne, who have been ranked amongst the world’s top givers, were also founding partners of Prince William’s environmental Earthshot Prize and, last year, Benioff pledged $200 million to the planting of trees and funding of ecologically-focused entrepreneurs.

“I’m pivoting in my life,” Benioff told Fortune. “Today, a lot of my visions and meditations and thoughts are much more about climate change.”

On top of his giving, which has covered climate change, education, the environment, poverty and more, Benioff has also taken politicians to task for anti-LGBTQ policies, relocating workers from states with discriminatory laws.

On top of publishing four books, Benioff is also a member of the World Economic Forum board of trustees, co-founded and the WEF Friends of Ocean Action. He also serves as the inaugural chair of WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco.

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