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Salesforce AppExchange business app store gets upgrade, investment

AppExchange, Salesforce's 3,000-strong business app store, got a face-lift last week, and the third-party developers creating desktop, mobile and web-enabled apps -- especially those incorporating AI -- will also have a crack at a new $100 million Salesforce Platform Fund from the CRM vendor's venture capital arm.

The face-lift includes new training tools for developers, as well as a Trailblazer score rating system based on metrics such as user reviews and educational modules completed.

New developers will give up 15% of their net revenue for joining the program vs. the current 25% -- a break current developers will also receive when they renew their participation in the program.

Venture capital focused on new apps

The Platform Fund will be run by Salesforce Ventures, said Leslie Tom, vice president of AppExchange marketing for Salesforce, in an exclusive video interview with SearchSalesforce.com. That investment team will be publishing guidelines and requirements for pitching app dev concepts later this year.

The venture fund follows Salesforce's hosting of 15 startup developers for new Einstein AI-based apps earlier this year, which have taken residence in Salesforce's San Francisco Incubator space for five months.

The startups will be working on projects such as chatbots for testing consumer products, AI-assisted search across multiple email platforms and multiple tools to promote diversity and inclusion, while also rooting out gender and racial bias in companies using Salesforce.

Giving smaller developers new attention

The idea behind the fund, platform upgrade and new rating system is to expand the Salesforce business app store. Lower costs and better training materials, the company hopes, will keep smaller developers from falling through the cracks or walking away. It can also reduce overhead for small developers thanks to new payment processing tools.

The idea behind the fund, platform upgrade and new rating system is to expand the Salesforce business app store.

"We wanted to provide more choice to our customers. It's always about customer success, so of course our customers are asking for more apps and more components and things like that across every department in every industry," Tom said.

"Our partners were giving us feedback about how they wanted to expand their opportunities, as well. With that feedback, with our partners, we came up with our new partner program."

This story was updated to reflect that the Salesforce AppExchange platform includes web, desktop and mobile apps.

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