Workday launches $250 million venture fund

Workday is aiming to bring emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality into its platform.

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Workday announced Wednesday that it's launching a $250 million venture fund focused emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality.

Workday also announced that CFO Robynne Sisco and field operations chief Chano Fernandez have been promoted to Workday co-presidents.

As for the new Workday Ventures fund, the software-as-a-service provider said the investment builds on its decision last year to open up its cloud platform to developers and expand its partner ecosystem.

Workday will use the fund to invest in early-stage startups that are pioneering new ways to use emerging technologies in the enterprise. Startups will receive business guidance and access to Workday customers, product executives, data scientists, architects, and engineers. In return, Workday will gain hooks into new technologies that expand its platform.

The fund will be led by Workday executives Leighanne Levensaler and Mark Peek, the company said.

In October Workday launched Prism Analytics, a data-as-a-service effort, in a move designed to position its platform as the front-end to other enterprise systems. Coupled together, Prism and the open platform push signal that Workday is looking to gain more enterprise data under management.

    "Our investment in Workday Ventures reinforces our commitment to staying at the forefront of enterprise innovation," said Workday's CEO Aneel Bhusri. "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."

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