Photo: Cornell University Alumni
Workday is just about ready to go public in the most highly anticipated enterprise IPO of 2012, reports Ashlee Vance at Businessweek.And when it does, look out.
Workday was founded in 2005 by billionaire Dave Duffield shortly after Larry Ellison stole his company, PeopleSoft, in the nastiest hostile takeover in tech history. The stories of that takeover are still repeated as legend. Like the one where Ellison allegedly threatened to shoot Craig Conway’s dog, PeopleSoft’s CEO, Duffield told Businessweek.
But revenge is sweet for Duffield and his Workday co-founder Aneel Bhusri, PeopleSoft’s former top product strategy dude. (Bhusri is also a VC at Greylock Partners.)
Workday has upended the enterprise software market. It offers an easy-to-use cloud alternative to enterprise resource management software like PeopleSoft. That’s software for day-to-day business needs accounting, HR, expense reports.
Traditional ERP is expensive and slithers its way deep into a company’s innards — making it next-to-impossible to be replaced if a company wants a cheaper, easier alternative.
But because Duffield and Bhusri knew that software so well, they found ways to let customers fairly easily convert to Workday. The company counts 310 customers many from the Fortune 50.
Workday spawned an entire blockbuster category of cloud ERP software (including Larry Ellison’s own baby NetSuite). This caused some SAP and Oracle to make huge acquisitions of Workday competitors including SAP’s $3.4 billion buy of SuccessFactors and Oracle’s $1.9 billion buy of Taleo.
Speculation went nuts that Workday would be bought next, maybe by Salesforce.com. But after the whole PeopleSoft nightmare, Duffield wasn’t selling — he was going public, insiders always said.
The company hasn’t disclosed its revenue yet, but Workday reportedly should reach $500 million this year, on a valuation of $2 billion, says Businessweek.
It’s raised $175 in venture funds including investments from Michael Dell and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.