Workday creates startup fund for enterprise AI

Businesses will share $250 million funding and get support from Workday execs and engineers

Workday has set up a $250 million fund, focusing on helping startup firms in the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, blockchain, and augmented and virtual reality spaces develop their ideas and grow their business through innovation.

Dubbed Workday Ventures, the initiative will offer businesses access to Workday product executives and leadership team members who can advise how the startups can build their technologies to be scalable and create sustainable business models. They will also be able to make use of the expertise and insight provided by Workday's data scientists, architects, and engineers.

While the chosen firms will share part of the $250 million pot, it's unclear as yet how much each business will be granted. The fund will also connect those taking part in the programme to Workday's customers, helping them get a leg up in the world of business.

Workday Ventures will be headed up by Leighanne Levensaler and Mark Peek, two senior Workday executives who will take on the roles of managing directors and co-heads.

"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 introduction of this new fund leads on from Workday's decision to open up its cloud platform, allowing customers and partners to make better use of the company's extensive SaaS ecosystem.

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