Celonis, the late-stage process mining software startup, announced a $1 billion Series D investment this morning on an eye-popping $11 billion valuation, up from $2.5 billion in its Series C in 2019, quadrupling its value in just two years.
Durable Capital Partners LP and T. Rowe Price Associates co-led the round, with participation from new investors Franklin Templeton, Splunk Ventures and existing investors Arena Holdings. Other unnamed existing investors also participated.
While it was at it, the company announced it was naming experienced financial pro Carlos Kirjner as CFO. Kirjner's most recent job was at Google, where he led finance for ads and other key product areas, according to the company.
The presence of institutional investors like T. Rowe Price and Franklin Templeton and the huge influx of capital could be a signal that this is the last private fundraise for the company before it goes public, and Celonis CEO and co-founder Alexander Rinke did not shy away from IPO talk when asked about it.
"It could be, yeah. It's kind of tough to predict the future, but look, we're very bullish about the growth and our prospects both as a private -- and down the road -- a public company, and obviously we now have backers that can invest capital in both [public and private markets]," Rinke told TechCrunch.
Rinke says what's driving this interest is the tremendous potential of the market even beyond process mining, which he sees as just a starting point for a much larger market. "Process mining where we originated from is really just the gateway to build new processes and better processes for organizations, and as you think about that that's a much much bigger market that we're addressing," he said.
The company's processing mining software sits at the beginning of the process automation food chain, which includes robotic process automation, no-code workflow and other tools to bring more automated workflows to companies. It's quite possible that the company could develop other pieces of this or use the new capital to buy talent and functionality, something that Rinke acknowledges is possible now with this much capital behind the company.
Celonis started by mapping out exactly how work flows through an organization, something that used to take high-priced human consultants months to figure out sitting with employees and watching how work flows. Once a company knows how work moves through an organization, it's easier to find inefficiencies and places that are ripe for using automation tools. Speeding up that first part of the operation with technology can bring down the cost and accelerate innovation and change.
The company made a huge deal with IBM recently where IBM plans on training 10,000 consultants worldwide to use Celonis tooling. That brings the power of a company the size of IBM to one that is still relatively small in comparison -- Rinke thinks they'll reach 2,000 employees by year end -- and that could be at least part of the reason investors were willing to pump so much capital into the company.
The company, which recently turned 10, currently has 1,000 enterprise customers, including Uber, Dell, Splunk (which is also an investor), L'Oréal and AstraZeneca.