Business-software maker Workday, Inc. announced it has set up a $250 million (Rs 1,606 crore) venture fund to invest in early-stage and growth-stage startups working in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, augmented reality and virtual reality, in order to come out with enterprise solutions.
Workday Ventures is the company's strategic investment arm focused on identifying, investing, and partnering with early to growth stage companies developing emerging technologies - such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality - that can be applied to the enterprise.
Workday Ventures will be run by seasoned Workday executives, Leighanne Levensaler and Mark Peek, who have been named managing directors and co-heads. Leighanne will serve in the role in addition to her position as senior vice president of corporate strategy at Workday, which she took on in 2016 after leading product management for the company’s applications. Mark, an enterprise industry veteran, brings more than 30 years of finance and operational experience to Workday Ventures, having previously served as co-president as well as chief financial officer at Workday in addition to leadership positions at companies including Amazon and VMware.
“Our investment in Workday Ventures reinforces our commitment to staying at the forefront of enterprise innovation,” said Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO, Workday. “Combining the leadership of Leighanne and Mark with our deep understanding of the enterprise market will position Workday Ventures as an industry leader, supporting the growth of our portfolio companies, community, and business.”
The $250 million fund comes after Workday announced it will open up its cloud platform, creating new opportunities for its customer and partner ecosystem to extend the power of Workday’s core applications. The investment in Workday Ventures builds on this effort and the company’s continued extensibility journey, making its people and technology expertise available to emerging companies exploring new use cases and innovations that will shape the next generation of enterprise technology.
In addition to funding, Workday Ventures portfolio companies will receive access to Workday’s extensive experience, market know-how, and global reach in the enterprise space, including:
- Access to Workday product executives and leadership who can guide portfolio companies on navigating the enterprise including building and delivering technologies at scale as well as creating sustainable business models.
- Connections to Workday customers - some of the largest and most disruptive brands in the world totaling a community of more than 26 million users.
- Hands-on engagement at the technology level including access to Workday data scientists, architects, and engineers.