Apttus scores $55M as it closes in on an IPO

Apttus, the unicorn quote-to-cash vendor built on the Salesforce platform, announced a $55 million round, which is likely its final private investment on the way to an IPO.

While CEO Kirk Krappe wouldn’t definitively confirm the company was going public, he did say that today’s round was about gaining the confidence of future investors. “We decided we needed a certain amount of equity on the balance sheet. When a company is going public or up for acquisition, the investors want to be sure you are liquid. It puts you in a better situation,” he explained. “Our growth is enormous still, but we felt it was prudent to do final quick equity round,” he added.

The $55 million round was led by Premji, the private equity arm of Wipro, the Indian systems integrator. Existing investors Salesforce, K1 and Iconiq joined in.

The company, which has now raised a total of $329 million on a unicorn valuation of $1.3 billion (as of September, 2016), hasn’t been afraid to look internationally for funding in recent years. In fact, its $108 million Series C included the Kuwait Investment Authority as an investor, while its $88 million Series D included funding from Saudi Arabia.

The fact that Salesforce is contributing is significant. At the end of 2015, Apttus, got a kick in the head when Salesforce acquired rival SteelBrick. It began a process of establishing some independence by building a version of the product to work on Microsoft Dynamics, but time heals all wounds, and the new round of funding has Salesforce back on board as an investor.

Krappe said the relationship with Salesforce never really faltered in spite of the Steelbrick acquisition. “They bought a small competitor, but we have had a good relationship with them all along and do the vast majority of our business on the Salesforce platform,” Krappe told TechCrunch.

Apttus plays an important role in the sales process. As a salesperson establishes a relationship with a customer, they record those interactions in Salesforce. But once the sales process begins in earnest, the company would use software like Apttus to generate a quote, write the contract and collect the money after the sale.