Workflow automation startup Workato announces $10m Series A

It’s a big day for Workato as the startup announced a $10 million Series A, and the latest release of its workflow automation platform dubbed ‘Turing.’

The round was led by Storm Ventures with participation from strategic investors Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures. The four year old company has now raised a total of $16 million.

Workato helps companies simplify workflow integrations by automating when possible the connections between various SaaS applications and APIs. You can see why Salesforce and Workday saw fit to invest in them in that context.

One of the attractions of SaaS applications is the ability to self serve, but when it comes to building connections or workflows between applications, things get a bit more complicated. Typically that requires a trip to IT to create even simple connections across tools, says Workato CEO Vijay Tella.

He says it’s not just a case of end users looking for independence though. It’s also IT wanting to provide knowledge workers in marketing, sales, finance and other departments with a tool to build integrations on their own that doesn’t require developer skills.

The company created Workato to enable these types of end users to build workflows more easily by automating as much as possible and suggesting logical flows across tools. The solution relies on underlying machine learning algorithms to drive these suggestions in an interactive manner. As users adjust these recipes to suit their needs, the system learns and offers more complete ones over time, Tella said.

During the Beta of Turing, Tella said 55 percent of recipes were being auto-authored and presented to users in the form of suggestions, which they can accept or adjust by making a series of choices.

Since no process is completely fool-proof, the company is using machine learning to also self correct (or at least offer possible solutions) when a recipe breaks for some reason while making connections across systems. That involves showing the user the recipe flow in plain language instead of code, which should enable them to fix and rerun.

Workato claims that 78 percent of customers go live with their product in the first week. It helps that Workato has many recipes prepackaged out of the box using typical kinds of integrations for companies like Salesforce and Workday (surprise, surprise), but also Zendesk, Slack and many others.

The company reports that its product is being used at over 21,000 organizations including Box, IBM, Cisco, Ideo and Credo.