Salesforce and CEO Marc Benioff Propel Major AI Advancement Focused on ‘Trust’

Salesforce invests $500 million in Generative AI Startups for building Trust

Salesforce, the software giant, has promised $500 million towards investments in startups working on Generative AI, as part of its updated strategy on artificial intelligence. It aims to become a trusted player in the field, steering clear of developing models on its own and instead acting as a custodian and guide in the safe and effective use of AI. This article explores Salesforce’s stance on “trusted and responsible AI,” and details the elements of this emerging AI strategy.

Building Trust for Generative AI

Salesforce’s CEO, Marc Benioff, emphasizes the importance of “trusted and responsible AI,” a term he coined to alleviate widespread concerns in the business world surrounding the potential risks of generative AI. Big businesses who are among Salesforce’s primary clients are particularly concerned about the risks of generative AI that’s powered by weak data security and privacy policies. “We’ve all seen the movies and where this can go. We have all these crazy ideas in our head of what can happen,” Benioff says.

The Trusted Layer

Benioff also expresses the need for a “trust layer” to protect customers’ interests when they are using AI tools; hence Salesforce has invested $500 million in Generative AI startups that share their vision of trusted and responsible AI. Some of these startups include Anthropic and Cohere, which Salesforce believes provide a fundamental groundwork for building Generative AI tools that can be trusted and used responsibly.

Customized Business Outcomes

Salesforce is not looking to build models themselves; instead, it is relying on multiple sources of generative AI that can be customized to specific business use cases and outcomes. The company has revealed that its models focus more on specialties, such as healthcare, code generation, and visual marketing materials. Salesforce also aims to protect its clients by filtering which models can use sensitive proprietary data to input into its API. This customization and flexibility in the models allow for the safe and responsible use of Generative AI in business environments.

Investing in Startups

To bolster its investments in Generative AI, Salesforce made two significant startup acquisitions in 2016 named RelateIQ and MetaMind. Salesforce Ventures, headed by John Somorjai, oversees the company’s investments in startups, and he confirmed that Salesforce is looking to close at least five more AI investments in June, following the six it has already made. The venture capital firm is also scouting for additional providers beyond Anthropic and Cohere that align with their trusted and responsible AI framework.


Salesforce’s goal is to become a custodian and trusted guide to make Generative AI useful and safe for businesses. As such, the company has invested in a trust layer and startup acquisitions backed by its ethical framework to ensure safe AI integration across its offerings. With this strategy on trusted and responsible AI, Salesforce aims to overcome the risks and potential pitfalls of AI and establish itself as a valuable and trusted partner of businesses in the AI space.

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