This blog originally appeared on the Workday corporate blog

When we launched our new $250 million Workday Ventures fund earlier this year, my colleagues—Mark Peek, who serves with me as managing director and co-head and Brittany Skoda, vice president of investments—and I decided to approach things a little differently. Rather than just being a source of strategic capital, we wanted to be an active partner for our portfolio companies, helping accelerate the growth of early stage companies that provide solutions complementary to Workday’s offerings and that are attractive to our customers.

Our intention was also rooted in Workday’s core values, which we feel are foundational to our success. In addition to a focus on innovation and customer commitment, we also function with integrity. We want to be known for making good on our promises and to do things the right way by helping our portfolio companies understand the enterprise technology space, connecting them with customers, and offering technical integrations that help their business grow.

As we approach the end of the year and assess our progress and the partnerships we’ve made, we’ve stayed true to our intentions and to Workday’s core values. Reflecting back on what a great year it’s been, several broad—and interesting—themes related to our investments have also emerged:

They support a strong, inclusive future. Three Workday Ventures companies are B Corporations, which are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. The aspirations of B Corporations help everybody— employees, consumers, and society. The three portfolio companies are data.world, an enterprise catalog for data and analysis, Guild Education, which helps companies to offer education as a benefit, and Landit, a career development platform designed to increase the success of women and diverse groups in the workplace.

They represent society. Just under half—five total—of our Workday Ventures companies are led or founded by women. We’re proud of this when you consider only 2 percent of U.S. venture capital went to companies with all-women founding teams in 2017, just 12 percent to teams with at least one woman, and only 8 percent of U.S. venture capital firms have female partners. Our women-led portfolio companies include the aforementioned Guild Education and Landit.This group also includes data privacy automation vendor Integris, neuroscience and artificial intelligence (AI) firm pymetrics, global mobility management company Topia, and mobile health app Vida Health.

All Workday Ventures companies advance Workday’s commitment to bring innovative and complementary solutions to our customers.

They focus on helping people be their best, both personally and professionally. We think this is critical because, as we all know, people are at the heart of any organization’s success. For example, BetterUp, a coaching platform delivered via mobile, offers executive-style coaching for employees at all levels of an organization. Guild and Landit help people unleash their potential. Scoop is the largest carpooling solution in the U.S., and Vida Health helps employees prevent, manage, and overcome chronic and behavioral health conditions.

They bring innovative solutions to the Workday community. All Workday Ventures companies advance Workday’s commitment to bring innovative and complementary solutions to our customers. Our partner companies innovate around the most important areas in business today, including AI, intelligent automation, people enablement, and data.

Suplari, for instance, is an AI-driven insights platform that empowers enterprises to uncover cost savings and risk buried under millions of data points. Voicea leverages AI to harness the power of voice in the workplace. Topia is a global mobility management company that offers an integrated suite of talent mobility solutions and services, and Workato is a platform for intelligent automation.

The Year Ahead

In addition to helping keep Workday at the forefront of enterprise innovation, Workday Ventures was also created to expand the opportunities for our customers and help early-to-growth stage companies accelerate their business by connecting them to millions of Workday users.

Looking to the year ahead, we see us partnering with companies that fit into the themes I mentioned. I expect new ones to emerge, too, as we explore new areas and companies based in more geographies.

As always, Workday’s strong set of core values will guide us in our search for more companies that are people focused, customer obsessed, and visionary.

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Sean Pratt

About the author

Sean Pratt

Sean is Topia's Sr. Marketing Manager and a certified Global Mobility Specialist.

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