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Salesforce Looking To Back Dozens of SIs with $50M Fund

In an effort to build out its community of implementation partners, Salesforce.com is spinning up a $50 million fund to invest in systems integrators (SIs) and creating a parallel operation to support companies in that portfolio.

The San Francisco-based cloud CRM giant unveiled the SI Trailblazer Fund and the SI Trailblazer Alliance Initiative on Wednesday.

Although best known for the ISV partners in its AppExchange community, Salesforce.com has a large community of SIs, and the company says those consulting partners are seeing their Salesforce.com practices grow more than 50 percent annually.

"Salesforce has thousands of SIs. We don't break out a specific number, as it's constantly changing, particularly as we add new partners due to acquisitions such as Demandware, Krux and other companies," said Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, Salesforce.com senior vice president for Partner & Industry Innovation, in an e-mail exchange Thursday.

The goal of the $50 million fund being administered by the company's corporate investment group, Salesforce Ventures, is to both help current SI partners expand and to attract new SIs globally over the next few years, she said.

"We want to increase capacity overall, whether existing SIs who want to grow or new SIs who want to join the program. For new SIs, we have the SI Trailblazer Alliance Initiative -- a set of 'concierge-like' onboarding services and support -- to help them get up-and-running fast," Taychakhoonavudh said.

Those services for the portfolio companies will include an accelerated onboarding experience, marketing and sales mentorships, marketing development funds (MDF) and implementation guidance.

The number of SIs that Salesforce.com will target is relatively small. "Salesforce Ventures is looking to back dozens of SIs," Taychakhoonavudh said. Yet, the nature of SIs means the fund will stretch further than it might with some of Salesforce.com's other types of partners. "SIs aren't as capital-intensive as ISVs, so some of the amounts may be small investments," she noted.

Salesforce.com's initial investments with the fund included a pair of SI partners that could themselves accelerate the growth of other Salesforce.com SIs -- 7Summits, which is an online community consulting partner focused on the social community space, and ATG, which provides quote-to-cash advisory and implementation services that it provides to other Salesforce.com partners.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 01, 2017 at 4:03 PM