Joydeep Bhattacharyya (Canaan Partners) and John Somorjai (Salesforce Ventures)
After a busy day at the office and taking meetings yesterday, I hustled over (i.e., took an Uber) to the Canaan Partners office in South Park. As far as tech goes, South Park is a tony part of SF.
Before the event started, I made some new connections and caught up with familiar faces. There’s no other way around it, you gotta show up to make things happen.
Thinking M&A the Salesforce Way: My Takeaways
Here are my takeaways from last night’s fireside chat at Canaan Partners:
- 15% of Salesforce employees come from acquisitions.
- Salesforce Ventures: 218 companies in portfolio. 11 of which have been acquired by Salesforce.
- Customer success team is very important on the back end.
- They view themselves as strategic investors on the venture side.
- Salesforce Ventures rarely leads. They average one investment per week (Wow).
- MNA is tough now (IPO market is opening).
- It’s incredibly stressful to buy a public company.
- “Speed is everything.”
- Salesforce needs core group of leaders to be incentivized to stick around after acquisition.
- They are focused on buying companies that can hit $100M ARR within 12 months.
- “If you’re building a $10M or $20M business in Salesforce, no one cares.”
- Be upfront and transparent when meeting with CorpDev.
- “We know every company has issues. We have issues.”
- “Trust is so core to our value as who we are as a company.”
- Customer attrition (churn) is so crucial in a SaaS company.
- There’s only a handful of companies that will want to buy your company.
- A big reason Salesforce acquired Mulesoft: Because Mulesoft is playing a big role in helping customers go thru digital transformation.
- Salesforce had been customer and investor in MuleSoft since 2013.
- Be involved in DreamForce and AppExchange to get on Salesforce radar.
- “Spending one week at Dreamforce is incredibly valuable in terms of understanding our strategy.”
- Snapchat uses Quip as a verb within their company.
- From the top, Marc Benioff forces the product teams to think about what to build vs. what to acquire.
- John is on the board of National Venture Capital Association.
- Immigration is a hot button for NVCA right now.
- If IPO window closes, M&A activity could pick up.
- Re: SaaS: “The fundamentals of the industry are fantastic…This is the future of the software industry.”
Rayfe Gaspar-Asaoka (Canaan Partners)
Selfie with Rayfe Gaspar-Asaoka
Mahalo to Rayfe Gaspar-Asaoka for the invitation to last night’s event. Rayfe has been keenly helpful to us since we met in 2016. See you later today, Rayfe!