Written by Samuel Phineas Upham
Founded in 1999, Salesforce is considered by Forbes to be the most innovative company in America. The company makes customer relationship management software, or CRM. Mark Benoiff started the company with the goal of specializing in software as a service.
He drew upon the expertise of three software engineers from Clarify, and they wrote the initial automation software. It took five years for the company to go public, raising $110 million from early investors like Larry Ellison and Halsey Minor.
Salesforce is broken up into different aspects. The Sales Cloud, for instance, helps sales people collaborate on deals in real-time. The Service cloud allows companies to track issues as they arrive, and see them through to resolution. Salesforce also uses a custom cloud service that allows companies to use the platform, but develop their own applications to track relevant data.
The company is headquartered in San Francisco, and has regional operations in Switzerland, India and Tokyo. It is also included in the Standard and Poors Index, which measures general economic activity based on influential and growing companies.
For Salesforce, which manages customer information for companies all across the world, server infrastructure is crucial. The company switched to Dell servers with AMD processors and a Linux-based operating system to secure its data stores as a result.
Salesforce also runs its own charity foundation. The company strives to donate 1% of its profits, employee time and equity to support organizations. Salesforce launched the initiative in 2000 at an event that featured Collin Powell. Through its foundation, the company is able to provide full-featured licenses for 501c3 non-profits and their oversea equivalents.