Here, René explains the benefits Salesforce.com receives from the Incubator initiative. The idea is very new to the marketplace, so the effectiveness of it remains to be seen, although common sense indicates this is a solid business plan which we are bound to see replicated in many industries from this point on.
SM: What is in it for Salesforce.com? RB: Certainly these companies in the incubator build in the SalesForce environment. They integrate into, or are built directly on top of, SalesForce. If you think about it, these companies are building additional applications that help additional customers and also help us go into new markets.
We have partners in the Incubator which build very specific technology and applications for the financial services industry. That helps us penetrate that industry. They are partners who build very specific applications for markets which typically do not get served by SalesForce technology. We do business really well with sales people, with marketing people and support people, but we have no functionality for contract lawyers, or for HR to do incentive compensation. These partners in the Incubator are building new applications and that helps them penetrate our existing customers by offering them new functionality, and it helps SalesForce offer a more complete offering to our existing, as well as new customers, when we go to new markets.
SM: Let’s get down to the details of the services, and the terms to access these services. RB: We opened up the Incubator in January this year. We had space for 32 companies to be a part of this, and they all joined us in the first quarter this year. We recently opened a phase two for another 29 companies to join us, and they are joining us as we speak.
They get a cubicle with voice and data on our premises. They have all of the facilities in the building which are available to us. They have training rooms, meeting rooms snacks, food, drinks and everything else. They also have a lot of education. We hold colloquiums where we educate them on a very regular basis. They are scheduled, so it is almost like a college they can regularly attend. It is not only for the people in the Incubator, but also for their colleagues who are not in the Incubator. These colloquiums are around selling, technology, attracting venture capital, and just about anything else.
Most importantly, they can rely on our personnel who are sitting on the same floor in the same building to ask questions and get advice. Questions they may have about selling, growing, building, attracting capital, whatever is involved in doing business, is available. These companies pay $20,000 per year, per cubicle. They get all of the services for that price.