Salesforce "cloud" veteran heads to Benchmark Capital

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 12, 2011 12:08 PM
Salesforce "cloud" veteran heads to Benchmark Capital

(Reuters) - Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital has selected Salesforce.com's Craig Weissman as its new entrepreneur-in-residence, demonstrating a continuing interest in technology surrounding big data and the "cloud."

Weissman joined Benchmark last month, after nine years at Salesforce.com. That company is considered to be a pioneer in cloud-based software, meaning accessible from anywhere rather than only on a specific computer or set of computers.

At Salesforce.com, he oversaw the technology behind products ranging from its force.com platform service to its Chatter social-media service.

"I've never started a company from scratch," he told Reuters. "I want to see if I can do that."

He said he is toying with some ideas surrounding Hadoop, the open-source software that allows companies to analyze large amounts of data, or software that allows companies to quickly analyze data, or both.

"He's young, hungry and has technical depth," said Peter Fenton, the general partner at Benchmark who recruited Weissman. "That's a potent formula."

Sponsoring entrepreneurs-in-residence is a common practice in Silicon Valley, where venture capital firms see it as a way to foster the next big start-up while letting their current portfolio companies tap into the entrepreneur's expertise.

For the entrepreneurs, it is a good way to make a transition to a new business. In July, Chuck Ganapathi, former vice president for products at Salesforce.com, became entrepreneur-in-residence at Accel Partners.

Bringing Weissman into the fold underscores Benchmark's commitment to enterprise computing. The firm's existing investments in that area include Domo, a start-up that helps companies analyze data, and Eucalyptus Systems, which allows companies to build cloud-like services within their own infrastructure.

Benchmark, a backer of the micro-blogging service Twitter, raised its latest fund totaling $425 million fund in January.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride, editing by Maureen Bavdek)