Marc Russell Benioff (born September 25, 1964) is an American internet entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, a large enterprise cloud computing company. As of March 2016, he owns approximately $3 billion worth of Salesforce shares. Benioff started Salesforce in March 1999 in a rented San Francisco apartment and defined its mission in a marketing statement as “The End of Software”. According to Salesforce’s promotional materials, Benioff is “credited with turning the software industry on its head” by using the Internet to “revamp the way software programs are designed and distributed.”
Benioff has long evangelized software as a service as the model that would replace traditional enterprise software. He is the creator of the term “platform as a service” and has extended Salesforce’s reach by allowing customers to build their own applications on the company’s architecture, or in the Salesforce cloud.
Benioff is a noted philanthropist. In 2000, he established the “1-1-1 model,” whereby the company contributes one percent of product, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves globally. As of March 2016, Salesforce.org has delivered more than $115 million in grants, 1.3 million employee volunteer hours and powered 28,000 nonprofits with Salesforce technology. More than 700 companies have adopted the 1-1-1 model through the Pledge 1% movement. Benioff and his wife, Lynne, have focused their personal philanthropy on improving public education and advancing children’s health care through UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
As CEO of Salesforce, he has used his platform to take on social causes such equal pay for women, as well as leading efforts by business leaders to publicly oppose legislation in Indiana and Georgia that would allow discrimination against LGBT communities.
He is the author of three books, including the national best seller, Behind the Cloud.