Salesforce VC makes undisclosed “strategic investment” in Docker

Thanks to GeekWire

Salesforce Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount of money in container pioneer Docker as part of an extension of a previous funding round, and the two companies plan to collaborate on helping mutual customers bring elderly applications into the modern era.

Docker representatives refused to comment on the size of the investment, scheduled to be announced Thursday morning, but confirmed it was part of a “strategic investment” as an extension to Docker’s Series E round originally opened last year. The company filed a report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in October that signaled it had raised $92 million out of a possible $192 million round, and it would appear this investment from Salesforce’s venture arm is additive to that amount.

As part of the new relationship between the companies, Docker and Salesforce’s recently acquired MuleSoft division will cross-sell each other’s products when courting companies that are looking to modernize their software development organizations. The collaboration extends beyond that, however; the two companies will also do integration work aimed at helping mutual customers take advantage of their investments in one platform by extending capabilities to the other platform.

Salesforce acquired MuleSoft for $6.5 billion last year in order to bolster its hybrid cloud story with software developers. MuleSoft’s development platform helps companies build applications that can run on a variety of platforms, including their own hardware as well as public clouds, which is also the primary part of Docker’s vision.

Under the new arrangement, older applications that use MuleSoft APIs will be able to shift to Docker’s version of the container world without breaking those APIs, said Betty Junod, vice president of product and partner marketing at Docker. Applications created on Docker Enterprise Edition will also be automatically linked to MuleSoft’s Anypoint development platform.

Docker CEO Steve Singh (left) and chief product officer Scott Johnston explained the container movement at the 2017 GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Now that the early adopters are out of the way, a lot of cloud computing companies are turning their attention to the big multinational enterprise corporations that haven’t updated their tech infrastructure in years, pitching get-cloudy-quick strategies to corporations that lack the internal skills needed to manage this transition on their own. This has been a big part of Docker’s strategic shift under CEO Steve Singh, who has remade a company that was a developer darling after it made containers easy to use into an enterprise software vendor that likely plays golf with CIOs around the world.

Salesforce’s investment is also an interesting hedge on the increased rate of cloud consolidation over the last few months. Docker is a ripe target for acquisition, with a devoted user base and an unclear path toward independence given the surge in container-management services from cloud infrastructure players like Amazon Web Services as well as traditional enterprise companies like VMware.

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