Published: November 20th, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Salesforce.com introduced Salesforce1 AppExchange Accelerate, a new program for ISVs that supports them with a mentorship program and go-to-market strategies, at its Dreamforce conference on Wednesday.

The Salesforce AppExchange has offered independent software vendors (ISVs) the ability to sell an app on top of the Salesforce.com cloud platform since 2005 in exchange for sharing 15 per cent of the sales revenue with Salesforce. Now the San Francisco-based Web software vendor is looking to help startups interested in developing on its platform with access to venture capital (VC) firms including Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Parters, Emergence Capital, SV Angel, and Lightspeed Ventures. It also will serve up content advising on methodologies to become profitable as a business.

AppExchange Accelerate adds a flavour of business incubator or accelerator program to the Salesforce.com ISV relationship, explains Leyla Seka, vice-president of AppExchange and partner operations at Salesforce.com.

“For years we wanted VCs to be more involved in the eco-system to not just fund, but advise ISVs that were getting started,” she said. “Accelerate is about bringing the VCs closer to AppExchange Partners … maybe it will lead to investment, but really it’s about advising, and giving them the ability to pitch to the investor.”

The idea is to help smaller partners get to the point where they can start selling a product more quickly, she added. “We just wanted to help people move faster.”

Some of the services Salesforce is offering in its new AppExchange Accelerate program.
Some of the services Salesforce is offering in its new AppExchange Accelerate program.

The AppExchange worked as a good go-to-market approach for New Brunswick-based Introhive, said Rob Begg, vice-president of marketing at Introhive. It gained the startup firm entry into an eco-system focused on business-to-business software.

“If we had to market without an eco-system of potential partners and potential customers, I don’t know where we’d go,” he said. “For B2B high tech companies these days, the event eco-system is very poor.”

Introhive targets sales professionals with its Web-based tool that promises to unlock relationships within the company. It aims to turn a cold call into a comfortable conversation by digging through data to find an employee that has a connection with the prospective customer, and measures the strength of that connection.

AppExchange has provided good tech support and account management for Introhive, Begg said, and they facilitate good communication among partners. Introhive also makes use of a model available to AppExchange partners that rewards Salesforce.com sales people with a commission for making a sale of Introhive. The incentive helps to extend the reach of Introhive’s sales efforts.

“As an independent company, we put all our energy selling direct and if things happen to come in the other way, that’s great,” he said. “Plus the validation of being part of the Salesforce eco-system is not to be underestimated right now.”

There are currently more than 2,000 apps on the Salesforce AppExchange and there have been more than 2 million downloads by customers, according to Salesforce.

The new program will be available to eligible startups in January 2014, Salesforce says. It is inviting ISVs to register on the Web site now.

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