The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): John Somorjai, Salesforce Ventures
John Somorjai is the executive vice-president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures at cloud computing company Salesforce and, since 2005, has been leading the evaluation, deal execution and integration of M&A and investments.
He was initially tasked in 2014, when he was promoted to executive vice-president from senior vice-president, with deploying its $100m Salesforce1 Fund. He then brought in Matt Garratt, a GCV Rising Star 2016, to run what became Salesforce Ventures in October that year and it quickly grew.
This month, Salesforce unveiled a partner program to facilitate the development of intelligent apps that can then be sold on its AppExchange marketplace, as well as a $100m fund to invest in startups “building an ecosystem of partners around us”, according to Somorjai. This Salesforce Platform Fund follows the $50m Lightning Fund, formed by the company last June and now fully deployed, as well as the $100m Salesforce1 Fund in 2014 and another $100m fund for Europe.
Previously, Salesforce conducted minority equity deals through its corporate development function since 2009. It now has more than 150 investments, such as the reinvestment in Pendo’s $20m B round, based in 13 countries, and Salesforce Ventures has investment offices in the US, UK and Japan. Its Europe division, run by Alex Kayyal, has a commitment of $100m over the next few years, while Shinji Asada, head of Salesforce Ventures for Japan, is probably the most active CVC at a foreign-headquartered parent in the country.
GCV Analytics has tracked 31 Salesforce deals in the past 12 months to the end of April and, while Salesforce Ventures does not disclose its financial returns, a company regulatory filing seen by news provider Wall Street Journal said the fair-market value of its privately held investments as of January 31 was $758.3m, and that included $232.3m in unrealised gains.
Most impressively, Salesforce Ventures has also exited more than 40 of its portfolio, according to Garratt. It is a speed of development that reflects the growth of its parent under founder Marc Benioff.
Somorjai previously worked for pay-per-call company Ingenio, which was acquired by AT&T, as its vice-president, business development, responsible for partnership, sales and strategic corporate activities. He has also worked for Oracle Corporation as a senior director of corporate development working on strategic transactions. Somorjai was originally Oracle’s corporate counsel in the corporate legal department.