Three years ago Workday was a venture capitalist's dream, having created a fortune for its early investors in a blockbuster initial public offering.
Now, the cloud software developer is returning a bit of the favor, introducing an investing group of its own called Workday Ventures.
Workday said Tuesday that it's making early strategic bets on start-ups focused on data science and machine learning in the enterprise. The venture unit has already done four deals and expects to complete between 10 and 12 by the end of the year, though it's not saying how much money it plans to invest.
Unlike big tech corporate investing groups such as Google Ventures and Intel Capital, Workday is not seeking financial returns from its dealmaking. Instead, it's looking to stay plugged into the next generation of entrepreneurs.
"We believe we can learn from these companies and we believe we can help them," said Adeyemi Ajao, Workday's vice president of technology strategy and head of the venture team. "We're not looking for control."
Workday, which is competing with Oracle and SAP by bringing finance and human resource applications to the cloud, has a stock market capitalization of $15 billion, about triple its value at the time of its October 2012 IPO.