A New Unicorn Rises: Celonis Raises $50M At $1B Valuation To Improve Business Processes

Celonis, a process mining software company, has raised a $50 million Series B led by Accel and 83North. The company previously raised a $27.5 million Series A in June 2016. This latest round brings its known aggregate funds raised to $77.5 million and its valuation up to $1 billion.

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Founded in 2011, the Munich-based startup aims to use technology help companies decrease process inefficiencies by gathering and analyzing logistical data in real time. Celonis founder and CEO Alexander Rinke told Crunchbase News in an interview that the idea for Celonis came into being while he was at university.

“Their main challenge was that it took them too much time to route tickets and for internal processes to eventually resolve tickets,” Rinke recalled. “The ticket resolution time was five days on average. They wanted to reduce it to more like zero days.”

To accomplish this task, the group extracted log data from the company’s systems. Using machine learning, the team could then pinpoint which parts were slowing the overall customer service process down.

“We were able to help this business significantly improve its resolution time,” he explained. He added that the new process was able to automate work in real time that would have taken consultants six to twelve months to resolve through department interviews and organizational tests.

The founders turned that automated optimization experience into Celonis. Celonis’s machine learning-powered analytics platform gathers data from existing management IT systems. The technology then uses this data to reconstruct a particular company process—such as  the logistical steps taken between the time one orders a product to the payment and delivery of the item. Businesses can then visualize the automated reconstruction through the Celonis dashboard and observe which steps caused delays, if compliance issues have arisen, and if other vulnerabilities exist in the system.

Its product currently serves businesses ranging in industries from ridesharing (Uber), oil and gas (Exxon Mobil), pharmaceuticals (Merck), and aerospace (Lockheed Martin).

“What all of these companies have in common is that they handle large transaction volumes–large volumes of business,” Rinke explained. “[This means] they have large amounts of potential inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and ways to improve.”

The company put its Series A cash to use by expanding to the U.S. and opening an office in New York in 2016. Its New York office has since grown to more than 150 employees, and in the past year, the company expanded to Boston, Raleigh, and Miami. Though Celonis declined to release specifics on revenue, the company says it grew by 5,000 percent in the past four years and 300 percent in the last year. Its U.S. business will soon make up more than 50 percent of its total revenue.

“We are a profitable business. We have 400 employees, and we are growing very, very fast,” Rinke said.

He also expressed that having Accel and 83North to advise strategic decisions in the U.S. was helpful over the past couple of years.

“Both of them have funded companies that were tremendously successful in the U.S. They have a great network that helped us a lot in the early stages of building in the U.S. market,” Rinke said.

The company will use its fresh funding to continue expansion in the U.S. to the Midwest and San Francisco. Celonis currently offers prebuilt analyses based on previous customer experiences for purchase in its content store. However, the company hopes to introduce more automated consulting features to the platform.

“Process mining is really this underlying technology that we use to understand the flow of business to a company,” Rinke said. “We’re adding a lot of intelligence to our offering, and we will continue to invest in that area to be able to automatically not just understand how a business works, but [also] automatically reinvent changes and improve how the business process is done.”

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