The top 25: John Somorjai, executive vice-president of corporate development, Salesforce Ventures
Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of US-based enterprise software producer Salesforce, is among the most active corporate venture capital (CVC) units, according to GCV Analytics data.
Since its founding, Salesforce Ventures has invested over $3bn and partnered with over 400 of the most disruptive enterprise technology companies globally including Auth0, Databricks, DocuSign, Guild Education, Hopin, monday.com, nCino, Snowflake, Snyk, Stripe, Tanium, Twilio and Zoom. The firm has over 100 acquisitions and 26 IPOs.
Its focus is on partnering with the most ambitious enterprise technology companies at every stage in their journey. These are innovative, next-gen startups that are doing amazing things that drive digital transformation in areas like data, automation, remote work and collaboration and across industry verticals like fintech, retail and healthcare.
The firm has launched multiple targeted funds, including one focused on artificial intelligence, another on impact, and regional funds focused on Australia, Canada, Europe and Japan. It also doubled down on its investment in Salesforce consultants and system integrators with our Consultant Trailblazer Fund.
John Somorjai, Salesforce’s executive vice-president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, has been adding to his commitments in other areas since 2005, when he started leading the evaluation, deal execution and integration of M&A and investments at Salesforce.
The unit’s recent investments include data analytics software developer Databricks, data backup platform operator OwnBackup, cybersecurity software developer Snyk and digital payment platform Flutterwave.
It also participated in rounds raised by virtual events platform Hopin, sales analytics technology developer Gong.io, sales management software provider Highspot and cross-border payment technology provider Airwallex.
In the past year, Salesforce Ventures had several exits, including data analysis software provider Snowflake and banking software producer nCino based in the US and Japan-headquartered design technology developer Goodpatch and application design technology developer Yappli (formerly Fastmedia).
Somorjai 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.
Previously, Salesforce conducted minority equity deals through its corporate development function since 2009. It now has more than 400 investments, and Salesforce Ventures has investment offices in the US, UK, Japan and Australia.
Its Europe division is run by Alex Kayyal while Ken Asada – formerly managing director for NTT Docomo Ventures and investment director at Intel Capital – heads up its Japan-based fund.
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.