"So what happens at the Salesforce Incubator, exactly?"
As YC and Acceleprise are well established at this point, it is the brand new Salesforce Incubator draws the most questions. Below, I've summarized a few lesser-known factoids about the brand new program.
1. Salesforce as a startup-building platform
Salesforce has stood for a long time as a widely adopted B2B marketplace and development platform (see: $1.5B in revenue through the Salesforce AppExchange in 2016).
In recent years, however, Salesforce has evolved beyond a product partner to become more of a company-building partner, especially for early stage companies. This is evidenced by Salesforce for Startups, various incentive plans for startups, and most recently, the Salesforce Incubator.
At Nova, we were already a major integration partner with Salesforce coming into the Incubator. But the Incubator has enabled us to more deeply understand the broader Salesforce ecosystem by giving us access to top execs and product experts whom we wouldn't have met otherwise.
The contacts include Will Moxley (SVP Product, Sales Cloud), Max Rudman (Steelbrick), Meredith Finn (Salesforce Ventures), Ludo UIrich (AppExchange / Head of Startup Relations), and last but not least, AppExchange Architect and Incubator Executive-in-Residence, Mike Kreaden.
All these connections have been absolutely key in learning about using Salesforce as a platform for growth, and more broadly, for using Salesforce as a blueprint for understanding how to build and grow a SaaS empire..
2. No money, no equity!
Unlike most other incubators, the Salesforce Incubator is not an investor; they don't give you money and they don't ask for equity.
This is especially great for companies who either: A) are not seeking venture funding or B) have already raised money (after our other two incubators, we need to hold on to our equity!).
Also, I think this enables a more open and honest relationship between the Incubator and its incubees.
However, the Incubator offers many, many perks, including: free office space for 5 months, $20k in Heroku credits (on top of our $50k from YC), a booth at Dreamforce, and a booth at SaaStr -- adding up to a total of over $100k.
3. Amazing B2B SaaS-focused Companies
The best thing about the Salesforce Incubator is working alongside talented startups focused in very closely related areas.
- Our neighbors, Metadata.io have created an amazing targeted ad-driven prospecting solution on top of Salesforce
- CodeScience, one of the top Salesforce integrators, has helped us immensely with the rollout of our soon-forthcoming AppExchange app
- Other companies, like Leankor, PropelPLM, and Wootric have helped us with our thinking and other parts of our product and process
Also, this enables really great programming and speakers, including:
- Sales-focused panels and talks with SaaStr founder Jason Lemkin
- Sessions with Enterprise Social Selling experts Jill Rowley and Gabe Villamizar
- Presentations from AppExchange superstar and keeper of Salesforce culture, Leyla Seka
It is very helpful to be in a cohort of like-minded companies. There is no way to quantify all the casual interactions and water cooler conversations in this post, but they have been immensely helpful.
While each incubator has had its own value, the Salesforce Incubator has been highly aligned with our SaaS-centric market positioning and vision. And we’ve been very impressed with the effort and generosity Salesforce has extended to us.
For any SaaS founders out there considering the different accelerators available, we’d highly recommend taking a look at the Salesforce Incubator.
Want to see the future of B2B sales? Come visit our website and request a demo of Nova today.
About the Author
Will Dinkel is the CEO and co-founder of Nova.ai. Will developed his passion for enterprise sales while working in various technology and sales roles at HP and CloudFlare. Will studied engineering and business at Cal Poly and Harvard Business School.