Cloud-based enterprise software giant Workday Inc. has raised $250 million for Workday Ventures, a new fund that focuses on investments in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and augmented and virtual reality.
Through its new arm, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based human resources and financial software provider will identify and strategically invest and partner with early to growth stage companies whose technology can be applied to Workday’s applications. The fund will be head by Workday vets Leighanne Levensaler, the senior vice president of corporate strategy, and Mark Peek the firm’s former co-president and Chief Financial Officer, who have been named managing directors and co-heads.
The news comes after last year, Workday announced it would open up its cloud platform to developers in efforts to create new opportunities for its customer and partner ecosystem.
In addition to funding, Workday Ventures portfolio companies will gain access to hands on guidance, Workday’s customers, including over 26 million users, as well as Workday’s data scientists, architects and engineers. In return, the SaaS market leader will help the companies build technology that expand its platform.
“Our investment in Workday Ventures reinforces our commitment to staying at the forefront of enterprise innovation,” said Aneel Bhusri, Workday’s co-founder and CEO. “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 move is part of Workday’s larger initiative to build out its enterprise data under management. In 2016, after Workday opened up its cloud, the firm launched data-as-a-service platform Prism Analytics, positioning its platform as the front-end to other enterprise systems.
Workday’s current venture portfolio consists of startups such as endpoint security provider Thinair, recruitment platform Jobr, and ride sharing company Scoop.