Business COVID-19 Startups Venture

Tonkean Closes $24M Series A To Automate Operations

Tonkean, a developer of software platforms for operations teams to automate more tasks, has raised $24 million in a Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

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Founded in 2015, the San Francisco-based startup operates on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, offering tools to help companies automate work ranging from escalation of customer support queries to gathering data for internal audits.

Broadly speaking, it’s a high-growth area. In recent quarters, venture capitalists have been pouring money into companies in the robotic process automation space, which markets itself on the promise of automating routine tasks and freeing employees’ time to focus on higher value efforts.

Tonkean’s offering is along similar lines, but with a bit of a twist, according to co-founder and CEO Sagi Eliyahu.

“We came up with this new category we call ‘adaptive business automation,’” Eliyahu said. The aim is to both automate data-pulling and the workflow tasks associated with that data.

Tonkean decided to focus on operations teams, Eliyahu said, because founders noticed they typically lack a dedicated toolset or platform specifically designed for them. To streamline repetitive tasks, many historically turned to engineering teams for custom products, an often lengthy and costly undertaking.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Eliyahu said, operations teams are among the many professions hard-pressed to come up with quick solutions to handle sharp shifts in business requests. He cites the example of a travel industry partner that needed a way to rapidly manage a surge in customer inquiries around cancellations, but said that’s far from the only industry needing to adapt on-the-fly.

Tonkean’s latest round follows a $7.2 million seed investment last year. Foundation Capital, which led that round, also joined in the Series A, along with Magma Venture Partners and Slow Ventures.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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