Gordon Ritter

Founder + General Partner

“Our job is to see the future. And then put all our wood behind that arrow.”

Gordon is committed to realizing his visions. From his undergraduate days rowing heavyweight crew at Princeton University (where he got his B.A. in Economics) to recently summiting both Denali and Aconcagua and completing a 250-mile trail run across Switzerland, he knows what it takes to make a promise—and follow through on it.

In 2002, he led Emergence in its first investment: a still nascent cloud computing company with a vision to revolutionize customer relationship management. That company was none other than Salesforce.com; its resounding success put Emergence squarely on the map as experts of their niche. In 2008, he saw the potential of industry cloud pioneer Veeva Systems back when the company had just 25 employees and less than $1 million in revenue. Thanks in large part to his insightful advice, it’s now a public company (NYSE:VEEV) with Gordon as its chairman.

Prior to co-founding Emergence, Gordon spent over fifteen years founding and building companies that pioneered new markets. One of these was Software As Service, a web services platform company he co-founded with Marc Benioff (the chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com). Software As Service is the origin of Salesforce.com’s Salesforce platform. Before that, he ran IBM’s $3 billion Global Small Business division, created as a result of IBM’s acquisition of his company, Whistle Communications, in 1999. He was responsible for IBM’s launch partnership with Salesforce.com. Going back further, he was co-founder and president of Whistle (a pioneering Internet appliance and web services platform), a co-founder of Tribe Communications (a networking infrastructure company), and a VP of Capital Markets at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York.

“You can’t predictably help people if you’re too broad,” he says of Emergence’s decision to remain deeply focused on the enterprise cloud. His commitment carries through to the people he partners with. “The fabric that ties together a partnership is no different than that of a marriage, except that it’s across four or five people—any one of whom may bring about the need for counseling,” he quips.

Gordon has been named four times to the Forbes’ Midas List of the top venture capital investors.