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

The latest investment followed first-round funding of $37 million in September 2013 that Salesforce led. K1 Capital and Iconiq Capital 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 Ahluwalia told CMSWire in an interview. "Heads roll when you don't have your arms around it."

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

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

"That's a pretty massive opportunity for us," he said. "It's a platform 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're doing very well with very large customers. But Asia-Pacific is wide open. We have customers there, but not enough," said Ahluwalia.
  2. Verticals: Apttus is strong in life sciences, telecom and manufacturing, but Ahluwalia said it plans to expand into several other verticals.
  3. Research: Apttus plans to expand its capabilities in blending transactional and quoting data to provide better insights for the revenue teams of its customers.

"Where we want to go is to make the whole thing very data-driven, so that the system is responding to the transactions with what else you should be bundling," 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.