Workday launches new fund to focus on machine learning

Steven Loeb · July 14, 2015 · Short URL:

The early stage fund has already made four investments in Jobr, Metanautix, ThinAir, and Unbabel

Workday is currently the most successful HR software provider company out there, with a $15 billion market cap. The company wants to expand, though, looking to go beyond its current offerings, specifically into the fields of data science and machine learning.

What better way to do that than to simply go ahead and identify companies in this space on its own that need funding and that Workday can then work with in the future?

The company unveiled a new early stage fund to focus on Tuesday, one that will be putting its focus on "companies that place data science and machine learning at the core of their approach to enterprise technology."

In addition to receiving funding to accelerate growth, portfolio companies have the opportunity to gain strategic guidance from Workday’s executives, board members, engineers, customers, and partners.

Founded in 2005, Workday offers a suite of solutions to the everyday ins and outs of running a company, including payroll, financial management, including billing, accounting and cash management. It also helps with time tracking, and human capital management, like absences, benefits and organization. The solutions are a cloud-based alternative to in-house legacy enterprise applications, which are pricey, inflexible, and outdated.

By adding in additional data and machine learning, and potentially collaborating with the companies it funds, Workday would be able to help its customers be more effecient, and make more informed decisions that help the company in the long run, said Dan Beck, senior vice president, product marketing and technology strategy at Workday.

"The use of data science and machine learning to tackle business questions will be the biggest transformation to enterprise technology since the emergence of the cloud," he said in a statement.

"Just as Workday led the transition from client-server to cloud applications, we are at the forefront of this data-driven shift -- investing in our own architecture and applications as well as emerging companies and innovators through Workday Ventures."

Workday Ventures has already made investments in four different companies in these space: Jobr, Metanautix, ThinAir, and Unbabel.

  • Job-hunting app Jobr lets people easily browse and apply for jobs without the hassle of a formal job search. It learns and recommends the best positions for candidates from more than a million job postings that a user can instantly apply for. The company raised a $2 million round in July of last year.
  • Metanautix, a big data analytics company, simplifies the big data supply chain by enabling users to combine and search a multitude of unstructured, structured, and relational data sources with a single analytics engine using industry standard SQL. Its flagship product, Metanautix Quest, is a data compute engine that provides fast answers from data of any size, source, or location, whether it is on-premises, in the cloud, or both. The company raised $7 million in Series A funding in August of last year.
  • ThinAir is a intelligent security platform built to allow everyone in the enterprise to take control over their most sensitive data in a way that enhances productivity. The platform offers a set of automated protection capabilities and alerts to keep data safe and under control. The company has not yet disclosed any funding.
  • Unbabel, a marketplace for translation services, connects freelance translators with companies that are looking to get documents translated. It pairs Artificial Intelligence and human translation, allowing fast results at a fraction of the industry price. The company raised $1.5 million in July of last year.

"Data is the lifeblood of Jobr's recommendation engine, fueling our ability to surface the right job opportunities and candidates for our customers," TJ Nahigian, CEO of Jobr, said in a statement.

"To have the opportunity to sit down with Workday's top data scientists and receive ongoing counsel from them about how we can maximize the platform's data processing capabilities has been invaluable. As we go forward, Workday will be a key partner in helping Jobr scale its platform and successfully address the enterprise market."

Workday's total revenues for fiscal year 2015, which ended in February, were $787.9 million, an increase of 68% from fiscal 2014.  Subscription revenues were $181.9 million, an increase of 64% from the same period the year before. 

There are some details about the fund that were not disclosed by Workday, including the size of the fund, how many startups it plans to invest in all and how much it will be putting into each one.

VatorNews has reached out to Workday for more information on the fund. We will update this story if we learn more. 

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