amazon facebook_32 gplus_32 linkedin_32 pinterest_32 tumblr_32 twitter_32 website_32 youtube_32 email_32 rss_32

 The mission of the "Your Mark on the World Center" is to solve the world's biggest problems before 2045 by identifying and championing the work of experts who have created credible plans and programs to end them once and for all.
Crowdfunding for Social Good
Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Salesforce Builds $50 Million Impact Investing Portfolio

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes or Google Play.

Suzanne DiBianca, chief philanthropy officer and executive vice president of corporate relations at Salesforce, was among the first employees at the company and has championed social impact from the beginning. Building a $50 million impact investing portfolio is her latest initiative.

She led the creation of Pledge 1%, an effort to get corporations, with Salesforce in the lead, to commit 1% of their equity, time, product or profit. More than 8,500 companies in 100 countries have joined the pledge, she says. Those companies have donated more than $250 million and even more in the value of product donations.

In that spirit, DiBianca has led the effort to build an impact investment portfolio within the larger Salesforce venture fund of more than $1 billion. She notes that Salesforce is typically a series A or B round investor and won’t lead deals.

Suzanne DiBianca, Salesforce EVP CREDIT: SALESFORCE

The impact fund features 18 portfolio companies, 70% of which are women or minority-led. While she acknowledges that the percentage may creep down over time, she says, “We’re really committed to that as a core principle of the fund.”

Matt Ellis, CEO and founder of Measurabl, a startup that provides real-time monitoring of energy consumption, allowing enterprise-scale companies to address problems and reduce consumption more quickly, commented on the investment the company received from Salesforce.

He was connected to Salesforce through a referral from Impact Engine. After a standard diligence process, it closed on a $7 million series A round that included Salesforce. Camber Creek led the round, which included Concrete, Divco West, Sway Ventures and follow-on investments from seed round investors Borealis Ventures and Impact Engine.

“Measurabl’s goal is to make ESG data easy and accessible for all. Anyone who owns, occupies, leases, invests, or insures buildings gains value from our software platform,” Ellis said. “Sustainability is a core tenant of Salesforce as a company and a focus area for impact funds via Salesforce Ventures, so we are a perfect pair.”

“Actually, we’re looking for more founders is in the sustainability and climate space,” DiBianca says. “I feel like we need to move faster there.”

Speaking of the need to arrest climate change, she noted, “We have a deadline.”

At Salesforce, DiBianca’s scope of responsibility includes the company’s climate change mitigation efforts. She’s proud that the company now reports all its energy usage in its 10Ks filed annually with the SEC.

“I hope it will be a mandate for companies to do disclosures in that area,” DiBianca adds. “But I actually think business can move significantly faster than government in some of these areas.”

Impact investing is a strategic part of a broader effort for Salesforce to be good corporate citizens, donating 3 million volunteer hours, pledging 1% of the company’s equity to nonprofits, giving 300,000 nonprofits use of its products and donating cash, too.

Learn my insider secrets for getting media attention for your social enterprise or nonprofit. Click here.

Are you part of the good crowd? Join, school for changemakers today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
Subscribe to news from
* = required field
Content I want: