This Guy's Startup Is So Hot, He Convinced Archrivals SAP AND To Invest

Ross Mason MulesoftRoss Mason, cofounder, Mulesoft and SAP have no great love for one another, yet that didn’t stop them from both investing in hot San Francisco startup Mulesoft.

Today Mulesoft announced a new $37 million round, lead by VC NEA and including both Salesforce and SAP Ventures (SAP’s VC arm). Mulesoft is also backed by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners (Ann Winblad sits on Mulesoft’s board), Morgenthaler Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and others.

Mulesoft has raised $81 million so far.

In recent years SAP and Salesforce have been going head-to-head as rivals in various software-as-a-service markets. This includes “social enterprise” tools that let employees and customers chat with each other.

So what is it about Mulesoft that made both of these companies want a stake?

Mulesoft is the commercial arm of a popular free and open source project known as Mule. Mule was created in 2003 by Mulesoft cofounder and current CTO Ross Mason. 

Mule and Mulesoft solve a really hard problem for enterprises. It lets various clouds and software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps talk to each other and share information.

Without sharing info, enterprises would be forced to duplicate common info in each cloud, like customer and employee data. That jacks up the costs of cloud computing and leads to mistakes, where updates made to the data in one SaaS app (like a change of address) won’t be made to the others.

Cloud APIs will be a huge area for the enterprise and neither SAP nor Salesforce wanted to leave the hottest startup in the market to its rival.

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