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Salesforce CEO says Dreamforce is staying in San Francisco after reaching deal with mayor

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, speaks during a keynote at the Dreamforce 2023 conference in San Francisco on Sept. 12, 2023.

Marlena Sloss | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Salesforce announced on Tuesday that its annual Dreamforce conference for customers and partners will remain in San Francisco for 2024.

The commitment to its hometown comes months after co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff told the San Francisco Chronicle that Dreamforce 2023 might be the last one in the city. Some other technology companies, such as Google and Oracle, have chosen to move their events elsewhere amid increased concerns of homelessness, drug use and theft in parts of the city.

“We signed an extensive agreement with the city that outlined the key pieces we knew we needed!” Benioff told CNBC in a text message. The event will take place from Sept. 17 through Sept. 19.

The agreement only extends to 2024, in keeping with Salesforce’s typical practice of communicating its plans with San Francisco one year out, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to ben named because the discussions were confidential.

Before announcing its intention to stay in San Francisco, Salesforce wanted to make sure it could rely on the city to provide a big enough police presence in the area and could keep the sidewalks sufficiently clean, the person said.

Dreamforce this year attracted about 40,000 attendees, and Benioff pointed to clean sidewalks and a general feeling of safety. Police officers and others had reportedly pushed unhoused people to migrate elsewhere. The crowd was much smaller than it was in 2019, when 171,000 people participated.

Headlined by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and other guests, this year’s event was slated to produce more than $89 million in economic activity.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed thanked Benioff in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that included a photo of the two of them, clad in Golden State Warriors basketball apparel.

Benioff said on X that San Francisco is “now the AI capital of the world.” It’s home to OpenAI and other notable artificial intelligence startups, such as Adept AI and Anthropic. Salesforce used this year’s Dreamforce conference to show off AI capabilities integrating with technology from Anthropic and OpenAI.

San Francisco reported 620 accidental drug overdose deaths in 2022, down from 640 in 2021 and 725 in 2020. There were 7,754 homeless people in the city on Feb. 23, 2022, down from 8,035 on Jan. 24, 2019, municipal data showed. Banana Republic, Nordstrom and Whole Foods have closed locations downtown in recent months, adding to concerns.

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