May 20, 2020

$100mn Japan Trailblazer Fund launched by Salesforce Ventures

Salesforce Ventures
Japan Trailblazer Fund
2 min
$100mn Japan Trailblazer Fund launched by Salesforce Ventures

Global CRM leader Salesforce has announced that its investment arm, Salesforce Ventures, has launched a new US$100mn fund focused on Japanese startups within the Salesforce ecosystem, the Japan Trailblazer Fund

The company’s press release said that the new fund reinforces Salesforce Ventures’ position as one of Japan’s leading foreign venture capital investors, as well as reaffirming the company’s commitment to developing the largest enterprise cloud company ecosystem in the world.

"With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Japan is recognized as an excellent place to start and build globally competitive technology companies," said Shinichi Koide, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce Japan, in the firm’s press release. 

"The new Japan Trailblazer Fund from Salesforce Ventures will provide valuable support to technology entrepreneurs throughout their start-and-scale journey. I look forward to future successes as they make progress toward next generation cloud economy."

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John Somorjai, Salesforce’s EVP of Corporate Development and Salesforce Ventures, added: 

"With this new fund, we are excited to further support innovative Japanese entrepreneurs and empower the next generation of enterprise cloud companies that will benefit our customers."

Salesforce Ventures has been investing in Japanese tech startups since 2011, with a portfolio of more than 40 companies to date.

Of these, Salesforce Ventures has invested in career networking platform BizReach, online accounting software freee, and Japanese Salesforce System Integrator Terrasky.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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