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A Complete History Of Salesforce – From Telegraph Hill To The Tower

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2020 has been a year like no other as it has brought massive challenges for all businesses as COVID-19 spread throughout the world. But Salesforce, the world’s #1 CRM provider, focuses on keeping employees and their families healthy and safe, supporting communities, and helping customers and partners navigate this crisis and prepare for a new normal. 

Being an innovative company, Salesforce has introduced many game-changing technologies and several tools in 2020 to help during COVID-19. This makes it stand out among its competitors. Salesforce continues to evolve for improving its CRM in various aspects and all business functions.In comparison with other CRM platforms, Salesforce emerged as one of the leading CRM vendors for the seventh consecutive year. And this is because this fantastic platform enables you to seamlessly manage all interactions with your customers in a completely new and effective way via cloud-based applications for managing sales, service, marketing, and much more. 

In this blog, we will talk about the Salesforce history over the years, including newsworthy highlights and a timeline of milestones since 1999. 

Let’s deep dive in!

1999: A Clear Vision

Salesforce’s incredible journey begins with a clear vision, and it started in a one-bedroom flat and is now a 40,000 people company. When Marc Benioff came up with the idea for Salesforce, three other company founders: Parker Harris, Dave Moelenhof, and Frank Dominguez with Marc started working in this small office. By the end of its first year, the company had grown to 40 employees and an 8,000-square-meter office at the Rincon Center.

2000: Product Launched & The Grand Debut of “No Software.”

In Feb 2000, launched an event themed around “The End of Software” at San Francisco’s Regency Theater with 1,500 attendees. In the same year, has established the 1-1-1 model, which uses technology, people, and resources to improve communities worldwide. In November 2020, the growing business shifted from the Rincon Center to a larger base at One Market Street.

2001: Global Expansion

In April, Salesforce announced its expansion into global markets with headquarters in Dublin and Tokyo. The company has grown to 3,000 customers, making it the fastest-growing CRM company. At the end of the year, Benioff was elected CEO and Chairman of Salesforce.

2002: Prediction About The Future Of Salesforce

By the end of the year, the company had 5,740 customers, 70,000 users in 107 countries with access to the service in multiple currencies and eight languages.

2003: The First Dreamforce Conference

The first Dreamforce took place in downtown San Francisco at a hotel called the Westin St. Francis, and there were more than 1000 registered participants who came to the event with 52 presentations. The company has also built a global presence, opening offices in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain, and UK. By the end of the year, Salesforce reaches almost $100 million in revenue.

2004: Salesforce Ohana

On June 23, Salesforce completed its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange and raised $ 110 million to $ 11 per share. The company had nearly 767 employees with 12 offices worldwide. Eight thousand developers and 150 independent software vendors started using Salesforce technologies to create applications. Salesforce has around 12 offices globally. 

2005: Salesforce AppExchange Launched

In September, Salesforce launched its AppExchange service, which gives third-party developers the ability to work on their applications and open them to Salesforce customers. Salesforce observed this as a wonderful opportunity to expand a company’s vision, capabilities, and services. At the end of the year, the customer base was 20,500 worldwide, with nearly 400,000 unique users.

2006: Development of Apex, Visualforce & beyond

The AppExchange ecosystem has evolved into a dynamic marketplace with 575 apps from 250 independent software vendors.

Apex was Salesforce’s On-Demand Programming Language that enabled third parties to write and execute code for multiple customers in the shared multi-tenant architecture of for the first time.

A technology called Visualforce has come into play, allowing users to create any user interface they want. They can create forms, buttons, links, and embed whatever they like.

Another program named ‘The Power of Us’ Hub, an online community for customers, partners, and employees was launched this year to engage Salesforce’s partners with the 1-1-1 philanthropy model.

2007: IdeaExchange Launched

IdeaExchange, which is now popularly known as Trailblazer Community, was launched, inviting customers to contribute new feature ideas for future releases. technology platform was planned to announce allowing developers to build applications on the Salesforce platform and build any user interface if needed. The Salesforce AppExchange community surpassed 450 independent software vendor partners by the end of 2007.

2008: Recognition From Forbes

Forbes named Salesforce among the fastest-growing technology companies in the world. The number of customers increased to 55,400. Dreamforce in San Francisco reached a new milestone, with 10,000 registered attendees. With this, was released to make it easier for customers to build and install apps on Salesforce’s architecture.

2009: Salesforce Service Cloud Introduced

Salesforce launched the Service Cloud that offers customer service and support automation features. The first application built on for the iPhone launched, and it’s the first enterprise partner on Apple’s App Store.

2010: Acquisition of Heroku

Salesforce agreed to acquire Heroku, an application-as-a-service platform, to support next-generation of application developers. Fortune magazine ranked Salesforce fourth on its list of the world’s fastest-growing companies. Over the past decade, Salesforce has provided $ 23 million in grants, 255,000 volunteer hours of employees, and 11,000 nonprofits have free access to Salesforce products. Another milestone achieved in 2020 was Salesforce named one of the world’s most ethical companies for the fourth consecutive year by the Ethisphere Institute.

2011: Chatter Launched

Salesforce launches Chatter as a social collaboration service for the enterprise; more than 80,000 customers adopt Chatter in the first year.  Marc Benioff takes the number one spot on Fortune’s “The 50 Companies of Tomorrow” list.

2012: Introduction Of The Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Gartner ranked Salesforce as the world’s #1 CRM. Dreamforce 2012  has marled another milestone with 90,000 registered attendees. Moreover, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is unveiled during the keynote address. This year, Forbes nominated Salesforce as the world’s most innovative company for the second consecutive year.

2013: Acquisition Of ExactTarget

Salesforce completed its biggest acquisition to date with Exact Target that allows you to extend the power of Marketing Cloud. The Salesforce1 platform was launched, enabling customers to manage their business from their mobile.

2014: Trailhead Learning platform Launched

Salesforce introduced Trailhead, which enables anyone to develop the necessary skills for top tech jobs regardless of education. Since its inception at Dreamforce 2014, Trailhead has gained a lot of traction, especially with the introduction of Superbadges certification maintenance exams.

2015: Launch Of The New Salesforce Lightning Experience

Fortune has recognized Salesforce as one of the Top 10 Best Companies to Work For and one of the World’s Most Admired Software Companies. At Dreamforce, Salesforce announces a new Lightning Experience, A Modern, Smart, and Intelligent User Experience – A fully redesigned user interface (UI) is the foremost reason for the world’s obsession with the new Salesforce edition, i.e, Salesforce Lightning. An easy-to-use and personalized user interface enables users to work more efficiently and establish a robust relationship with their clients. Salesforce has unveiled IoT Cloud, connecting billions of events from devices, sensors, apps, and more from the Internet of Things to Salesforce.

2016: Acquisition Of Demandware

The company acquired the eCommerce platform Demandware to expand its customer success platform to retail and introduced Commerce Cloud. Along with this, Salesforce has named the #1 “Workplace for Giving Back” by Fortune.

This year, Salesforce has acquired Quip, a productivity software company, to extend the Salesforce Customer Success Platform in powerful new ways with next-generation productivity capabilities.

2017: Artificial Intelligence And The Acquisition Of Over Ten Companies

Salesforce has launched Einstein, the first comprehensive artificial intelligence (AI) technology for CRM, making AI accessible to every company and business user. my Salesforce was unveiled, allowing everyone from admins to business users to build and deploy modern, highly customized mobile apps with point-and-click tools.

Einstein has been developed across every Salesforce product and empowers all Salesforce customers to access their platform and customers’ latest insights. It delivers advanced AI capabilities to sales, service, and marketing.

2018: Introduction Of Mulesoft

The Salesforce Tower in San Francisco has its grand opening. The company introduced Salesforce Customer 360, a new platform service that seamlessly manages customer data across clouds via a click-based user interface. Einstein Voice is introduced, empowering users to interact with the Salesforce platform via the mobile app or smart speakers.

2019: Acquisition Of Tableau

Salesforce has acquired Tableau, bringing the world’s #1 CRM and #1 analytics platform to enhance customers’ digital transformations. Dreamforce brings together innovators from 120 countries and 50 US states with more than 171,000 registered attendees and 16 million online viewers. Fortune ranked Salesforce as one of its 100 Best Companies to Work for the 12th year in a row, one of the top 10 Most Admired Companies in the World, and one of the Best Workplaces for Giving Back.

2020: Acquisition Of Slack

In 2020, Salesforce signed a definitive agreement to acquire Vlocity, and the acquisition closed on June 1. Salesforce has announced, an entirely new solution for meeting new workplace challenges. includes new solutions ranging from contact tracing and emergency management to employee welfare assessments and shift management to accelerate private and public sector responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And then Salesforce made its biggest acquisition ever by acquiring workplace chat app Slack for $27.7 billion.

Salesforce, known as the world’s most popular customer relationship management (CRM) company, is featured in some of the most amazing stories in Silicon Valley. It has always remained at the front of the pack by delivering outstanding Customer Experience (CX) for more than a decade. No surprise, the CRM giant’s evolution has been a story of vision, creativity, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit. success is extraordinary, but the impact on the world they want to create is even more impressive.


Ajay Dubedi

CEO | Founder
Ajay Dubedi, the founder and CEO of Cloud Analogy, is a prominent Salesforce Sales, Service, and Marketing cloud Consultant with a rich expertise in handling challenging business models. Ajay has assisted and implemented solutions in industries comprising Banking, Health Care, Networking, Education, Telecommunication and Manufacturing. Ajay is globally acclaimed for his extensive experience in APEX Programming, VisualForce pages, Triggers, Workflows, Page Layouts, Roles, Profiles, Reports & Dashboards.

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