Mountain View, California-based Workato, an enterprise process automation platform, today announced that it raised $200 million at a $5.7 billion valuation, bringing its total funding to over $420 million to date. The series E — which was led by Battery Ventures with equal participation from Insight Partners, Altimeter Capital, and Tiger Global — will be used to support global expansion as well as future mergers and acquisitions, according to CEO Vijay Tella.
Remote work, support of remote business, and other pandemic headwinds have prompted enterprises to adopt — or at least consider adopting — automation solutions. According to Forrester, 20% of companies will in the coming year expand their use of technologies like intelligent document extraction, which can extract and analyze data from a mix of digital and physical documents. The time and cost savings can be substantial — a 2017 study found that 53% of employees could save up to two work hours a day through automation, equating to 240 hours per year.
Founded by Alexey Timanovskiy, Dimitris Kogias, Gautham Viswanathan, Harish Shetty, and Tella in 2013, Workato lets companies integrate a range of data and apps to automate backend and front-end business workflows. The company’s platform delivers robotic process automation (RPA), integration platform-as-a-service, business process automation, and chatbot capabilities in a solution designed to enable IT and business teams to collaborate — ostensibly without compromising security, compliance, or governance.
“I was fortunate to be a part of the team that created the very first integration platform in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was called The Information Bus, or TIB, and led to TIBCO and a wave of middleware technologies. I went on to become the founding SVP of engineering of TIBCO and was a part of the team that took TIBCO public. After that, I was the chief strategy officer of Oracle Fusion Middleware,” Tella told VentureBeat via email. “I, along with my cofounders Viswanathan and Shetty, built Workato in 2013 from the ground up. Our founding team has been largely involved in building some of the earliest integration platforms. We created a fusion of our past teams — people with completely different backgrounds that were deep in the consumer or cloud and integration space.”
With Workato, users can create automations from scratch or opt for over 500,000 prebuilt recipes addressing marketing, sales, finance, HR, IT, and other processes. The company says its over 11,000 customers and partners are creating over 500 new connectors to apps and systems each month.
“For HR, for example, Workato can automate HR onboarding and offboarding. This includes automatically generating accounts for new hires in HR apps like Workday or Namely, monitoring benefits like time off, and triggering app provisioning or deprovisioning or hardware provisioning,” Tella said. “Workato also helps customers streamline mission-critical business processes in the finance department by automating the entire revenue process end to end — for example, product configuration, pricing, quoting, contracts, invoicing, billing, orders, revenue recognition, and renewals. [And Workato has been] supporting customers in building automations to help facilitate navigating the workplace during the pandemic.”
Workato also makes extensive use of AI and machine learning. As Tella explained to TechCrunch in a 2018 interview: “Leveraging the tens of billions of events processed, hundreds of millions of metadata elements inspected and hundreds of thousands of automations that people have built on our platform — we leverage machine learning to guide users to build the most effective [automation] by recommending next steps as they build these automations. It recommends the next set of actions to take, fields to map, auto-validates mappings, [and more]. The great thing with this is that as people build more automations — it learns from them and continues to make the automation smarter.”
In May at its Automate 2021 Conference, Workato introduced a number of new services including Automation HQ, a set of capabilities encompassing federated workspaces, a business operations console, lifecycle management tools, and custom communities for companies. Automation Accelerators, another product announced in May, delivers prepackaged solutions containing prebuilt recipes, custom connectors, reference data, and instructional guides.
Workato competes with a number of companies in a workflow automation market that’s anticipated to be worth $18.45 billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets. (From November 2019 to November 2020, over $2.2 billion in venture capital was funneled into tech companies building workflow automation solutions.) AirSlate offers products that automate repetitive enterprise tasks like e-signature collection. Tonkean is expanding its no-code workflow automation platform. There’s also Tray.io, Daylight, Leapwork, DeepSee.ai, Kore.ai, Aisera, and Berlin-based Camunda, each of which have closed funding rounds in the tens of millions for their process automation toolkits.
For Workato’s part, the company says that it more than doubled new annual recurring revenue, its headcount, and its customer base with additions like Stitch Fix, GitLab, NYU, Nokia, and Lucid Motors. Tella also noted that Workato recently acquired Chennai, India-based RailsData — which specializes in connectivity between apps, databases, and devices — to create what he describes as an “app connector factory,” with the goal of scaling the number of connectors on Workato by over 10 times in the next few years.
Workato — which has 650 employees — plans to focus its expansion efforts particularly in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa after it saw a 289% surge in usage over the past 12 months in the region. Beyond this, the company intends to open additional datacenters in Asia and add support for more regional languages.
“The pandemic has driven an even greater need for business excellence, and companies have responded by automating core workflows; seeking out low-code tools that empower employees to work quickly and autonomously. This investment arrives at a time of rapid growth for Workato and the automation market as a whole, as enterprises recognize the urgent need to increase their agility, innovation and efficiency against a backdrop of transformation and change,” Tella continued. “There’s really nobody that does quite what we do. Existing solutions either focus on integration and are too complex for business users, or they focus on automation and support only specific use cases.”
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