SAN FRANCISCO---Now a regular fixture, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff sat down with Michael Arrington on Tuesday morning for a wide-ranging fireside chat, starting by swapping jokes over and Apple Watch announcements.
Being a startup-focused event, the CRM giant's new pool of money was at the top of the agenda.
, Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital arm of the San Francisco-headquarted corporation, announced a new $100 million investment fund dedicated to businesses building new mobile apps and connected products tapping into the Salesforce1 platform. The first wave of investments already includes DocuSign, and InsideSales.com, among others.
"We've had a great experience with our investments," Benioff reflected, briefly noting a few have stemmed from previous Disrupt startup participants.
Benioff hinted companies building on the Salesforce platform, from Heroku to Force.com, could have an advantage being that Salesforce will then connect them with other customers.
Looking closer at Salesforce itself, Benioff once again touted the cloud company's ambitious run rate goals,.
"We're in line with some important trends," Benioff replied, outlining those trends range from cloud computing and connected devices (i.e. wearables) through Salesforce1.
When Arrington questioned Benioff as to when Salesforce.com's growth might slow down, joking it could be impossible to keep up 40 percent growth each quarter, Benioff shrugged, "I don't know."
"You have to understand my goals," Benioff insisted, elaborating further on local-minded projects and investments with the San Francisco Unified School District and University of California, San Francisco medical center.
Benioff cited that Salesforce has doled out more than $60 million in grants and delivered over 500,000 hours in community service through its employees.
"At the end of the day, it's technology that's impermanent," Benioff postulated. "Every device in this room will be obsolete in 10 years. What really matters is giving back to others and the culture of your company. That will still be here in 10 years."
Admitting that when Salesforce first launched roughly 15 years ago, Benioff said he didn't predict San Francisco would become the center of the tech industry, recalling speculation that it would have been somewhere closer to Apple's home base in Cupertino or Google in Mountain View.
Nevertheless, he pointed toward two trends intersecting right now between the current tech boom and people converging in San Francisco, comparing it to the Gold Rush of the mid-nineteenth century.
"If we put these two things together, we can make San Francisco greater during this amazing time. That's my goal," Benioff said. "We didn't come in just to make a buck but to give back."
Benioff also insisted the U.S. tech industry needs greater patent and immigration reforms, arguing international students should have H-1B visas "stapled to their degrees" upon graduation.
With Dreamforce 2014 just around the corner this October, more Salesforce1 updates and announcements should follow soon.