When it comes to venture investments, Salesforcebacks its allies. Case in point: The San Francisco-based cloud software company today led a $41million investment round for Apttus,which makes Quote-to-Cash software on the Salesforce1 platform.

The latest investment followed first-round funding of $37million in September 2013 that Salesforce led. K1Capital and IconiqCapital also invested in both rounds.

Critical Process


Apttus helps companies find products, match specifications, quote prices and finalize contracts.

"Revenue processes are very critical,"  CMO Kamal Ahluwaliatold CMSWire in an interview. "Heads roll when you don't have your armsaround it."

In the past, SAP, Oracle and other big software companies owned much ofthat business. But with companies moving to the cloud, Ahluwalia said Salesforceis quickly emerging as the main "system of engagement" betweencompanies.

"CEOs are no longer scared of SAP and Oracle," said Ahluwalia, andcompanies are tired of being "tied up in endless upgrade cycles."

Learning Opportunities

"That's a pretty massive opportunity for us," he said. "It's aplatform war ... that's the fight going on."

Apttus will use the funding to pursue three objectives:

  1. Geographical Expansion: "The Americas are good. In Europe, we'redoing very well with very large customers. But Asia-Pacific is wide open. Wehave customers there, but not enough," said Ahluwalia.
  2. Verticals: Apttus is strong in life sciences, telecom andmanufacturing, but Ahluwalia said it plans to expand into several otherverticals.
  3. Research: Apttus plans to expand its capabilities in blendingtransactional and quoting data to provide better insights for the revenue teamsof its customers.

"Where we want to go is to make the whole thing very data-driven, sothat the system is responding to the transactions with what else you should bebundling," said Ahluwalia.

John Somorjai, executive vice president of corporate development and Salesforce Ventures, said in a statement that Apttus is establishing "a new standard" in how companies transact business.

"Apttus's leading quote-to-cash capabilities extend the value of the Salesforce1 platform," he said.