Robotic Process Automation has been the name of the game in enterprise software lately — with organizations using advances in machine learning algorithms and other kinds of AI alongside big-data analytics to speed up everything from performing mundane tasks to more complex business decisions.
To underscore the opportunity and growth in the market, today a startup in the wider segment of process automation is announcing a significant fundraise. Signavio, a company founded out of Berlin that provides tools for business process management — “providing the ‘P’ in RPA,” as the company describes it — has picked up an investment of $177 million at what we understand is a valuation of $400 million.
This round is large on its own, but even more so considering that before this the company — founded in 2009 — had only raised around $50 million, according to data from PitchBook. This latest capital injection is being led by Apax Digital (the growth equity team of Apax Partners), with DTCP. It notes that existing investor Summit Partners is also keeping a stake in the business with this deal.
The company was founded by a team of alums from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, who used research they did there for creating the world’s first web modeler for business process management and analytics as the template for Signavio’s own Process Manager. (The name “Signavio” seems to be a portmanteau of “navigating through signals,” which essentially explains the basics of what BPM aims to do to help a business with its decision making.)
Partly because it’s raised so little money, Signavio has been somewhat under the radar, but it has seen a huge amount of growth. It says that revenues in the last 12 months have grown by more than 70%, and its software is used by more than one million users across 1,300 customers — with clients including SAP, DHL, Liberty Mutual, Deloitte, Comcast and Puma. It counts Silicon Valley as its second HQ these days; that trajectory will be followed further with this latest funding: Signavio says the funding in part will be going to international expansion of the business.
“10 years ago, we set out on a journey to tackle the time-consuming practices that limit business productivity,” said Dr. Gero Decker, CEO and co-founder of Signavio, in a statement. “This significant new investment further validates our approach to solve business problems faster and more efficiently, unleashing the power of process through our unique Business Transformation Suite. We are thrilled to welcome Apax Digital as our new lead partner, and look forward to building upon our success to date by leveraging our partners’ operating capabilities and global platforms for our international expansion.”
The other area of investment will be the company’s technology suite. While BPM has been around for years as a concept — and indeed there are a number of other companies that provide tools that are compared sometimes to Signavio’s, such as from biggies like IBM and Microsoft through to Kissflow and others — what’s interesting is how it’s had a surge of interest more recently as organizations increasingly start to add more automation into their IT infrastructure, in part to reduce the human labor needed for more mundane back-office tasks, and in part to reduce costs and speed up processes.
Robotic process automation companies like UiPath and Blue Prism bring some of the same processing tools to the table as Signavio, although the argument is that the latter — which says it helps to “mine, model, monitor, manage and maintain” customers’ data — provides a more sophisticated level of data crunching that can be used for RPA, or for other ends. (It also works with several of the big RPA players, mainly Blue Prism but also UiPath and Automation Anywhere.)
“As businesses have become more global, and workforces more distributed, business processes have proliferated, and become more complex,” noted Daniel O’Keefe, managing partner, and Mark Beith, managing director, of Apax Digital, in a joint statement. “Signavio’s cloud-native suite allows employees across an enterprise to collaborate and transform their businesses by digitizing, optimizing and ultimately automating their processes. We are tremendously excited to partner with the Signavio team and to support their vision.” The two will also be joining Signavio’s board with this round.