PK #006: The Secret Power of Corporate VC and Startup Philanthropy w/ John Somorjai at Salesforce Ventures

Posted December 6, 2016

Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder

VergeHQ.com

Our guest today is John Somorjai, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development and head of Salesforce Ventures.

Salesforce has over 3,000 partners and 150+ companies in their current investment portfolio. They’ve also had 30 plus exits and five IPOs so that’s on top of the 150.

You can look up more about Salesforce, it’s acquisitions, and investments at Salesforce.com. They’re @Salesforce on twitter, but also have various other handles including @SalesforceVC, and @MarketingCloud. But you can find John @jsomorjai, that JSOMORJAI on twitter. He’s wicked smart and definitely worth a follow…

Now, One of the things we didn’t get to discuss in this interview is that Somorjai has his JD from the Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley. I think that’s interesting context for how he got to where he is at Salesforce and how he might think in evaluating startup companies for potential investment.

He was a senior director of corporate development at Oracle for almost 5 years before taking on a VP of Business Development role at Ingenio, a high growth company that was eventually acquired by AT&T.

Somrojai then joined forces with Marc Benioff at Salesforce.com, and since 2005, John has led the evaluation, deal execution and integration for all mergers and acquisitions, and investments at Salesforce. His team has helped bring the company into insane growth areas through acquisitions including Demandware, Exact Target, Radian6, Buddy Media, Heroku, the list goes on and on….

I could go on about this guy all day, but I think it’s best if we just dive right in. Here’s John Somorjai EVP at Salesforce and Salesforce Ventures.

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In this episode with John Somorjai, you’ll learn:

  • About John’s career progression and how he got started with Salesforce.
  • How Salesforce investment has helped nurture growth in the ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies.
  • About Salesforce’s expansion into European markets, and how the set themselves apart from other Corporate VCs.
  • About their focus on corporate philanthropy and the 1/1/1 model.
  • Key strategies Corporate VCs for potential investment and maximizing the opportunities they offer.
  • What makes an attractive investment for a Corporate VC.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

People:

Ludovic Ulrich

Chris Baggott

Marc Benioff

Colin Powell

Jeremy Roche                                                                                                                                                                             

Company Websites:

Salesforce

ExactTarget

Andreessen Horowitz

Battery Ventures

Oracle

DocuSign

FinancialForce

HubSpot

Box

Sciperio

Marketing Cloud

Connect with John Somorjai:

Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank John on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have 3 seconds to spare, let John know via Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Click here to say hi and thank John on twitter!

COMMENTS?

What stood out most to you about what John shares in this podcast?

For me, it is his journey to where he is now at Salesforce.

You? Leave a comment below.

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Matt Hunckler

CEO & Founder

Matt is the founder and CEO of Powderkeg, a network of local communities with global reach for tech entrepreneurs, investors, and top talent. Powderkeg entrepreneurs have collectively raised more than $500 million in capital and are disrupting industries, creating wealth, and changing the world from areas beyond Silicon Valley. Hunckler has led successful teams with his own ventures, as well as Inc. 500 companies and venture-funded tech startups. He's been named an Under 30 CEO Entrepreneur to Watch and an IBJ Forty Under 40 Honoree for his entrepreneurial endeavors. @hunckler