In late 2019, Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of US sales software company Salesforce.com wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with the strapline: “The current system has led to profound inequality. To fix it, we need businesses and executives to value purpose alongside profit.” In addition to other ‘stakeholder’ initiatives at the company, Salesforce.com launched an impact investment fund in 2017, and, a year after the op-ed, launched a second $100 million fund, part of Salesforce Ventures, the company’s global strategic investment arm.
While many Silicon Valley firms have foundations, set up for charitable purposes, for a software company to run an impact investment fund is uncommon to say the least. As stakeholderism and ‘purpose’ grow in influence, such funds are likely to grow among non-investment companies.
It is part of a burgeoning field of impact investors.
These include traditional asset management firms with impact investment tea…