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Global customer relationships management (CRM) solutions provider Salesforce has launched its maiden startup program in India. The program, which is already present in its global markets, will offer startups the California-based company’s AppExchange partner program, which is its online marketplace for cloud solutions. It will also offer support from the company's Trailblazer Community, a startups ecosystem under Salesforce.

The company also said that select startups will get an opportunity for investments through its venture capital arm Salesforce ventures. “We have been working with startups in various ways. What we're trying to do here is to provide a unified approach for Salesforce to connect to startups and vice-versa," said Sanket Atal, senior vice president and managing director for Sites at Salesforce.

According to Atal, the goal is to embrace all startups instead of having a "small cohort" of 5-10 companies for a few months. "A majority of startups don’t survive beyond 3-4 years, our program is designed to help the longevity of startups," he said.

As part of the program, Salesforce will offer services like business communications platform Slack, data visualization solution Tableau, cloud platform Heroku and others to startups. Additionally, a few startups will be able to pitch to enterprise technology investors through the CRM giant's investment arm, Salesforce Ventures.

“With the Salesforce Startup Program, we wish to innovate locally to resolve local problems while at the same time promoting these solutions globally," said Arundhati Bhattacharya, chief executive officer (CEO) and Chairperson, Salesforce India.

The Indian startups ecosystem has produced 42 unicorns — startups with billion-dollar valuations — in 2021 alone, sparking interest from many global technology firms. According to an August 2021 report from venture capital firm 3One4 Capital, the startup ecosystem in the country is expected to triple its valuation, which is currently over $1 trillion, by 2025.

Companies like Cisco, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and many others have been running startup accelerators and incubators here for a while now. Cisco’s thingQbator runs in partnership with industry body Nasscomm (National Association of Software and Service Companies), while AWS’ Tech Incubation platform for women launched in April this year, and Google’s accelerator program selected 16 startups for its fifth Indian cohort in August this year.

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