Sramana: When did your transition to Anaplan occur?
Fred Laluyaux: This occurred just over 2 years ago.
Sramana: When was Anaplan founded?
Fred Laluyaux: The story of Anaplan is very interesting. The founder, Michael, was working for a company that was acquired by Cognos, which was later acquired by IBM. There was a lot of industry consolidation that occurred from 2002 to 2006. Michael spent 4 years at IBM before leaving in early 2007 to work on Anaplan. He actually locked himself in a barn in the UK and started coding. It took him 4 years to come up with the core technology behind Anaplan.
The company incorporated in 2007. In 2010, we did a Series A and in late 2011 we did a Series B for $11.2 million. We had 10 customers such as Jive and MacAfee by that time.
Sramana: So by the time you got involved in the company it had completed two rounds of financing?
Fred Laluyaux: Yes, I joined right after the Series B financing.
Sramana: What was the premise for founding Anaplan?
Fred Laluyaux: First, the goal was to leverage the availability of scalable and affordable in-memory computing. That occurred in 2006 when 64 bit memory became affordable. The objective was to resolve modeling and planning issues that business users face when they are in hybrid roles.
Sramana: What was the case for this particular business? SAP has substantial investment in this area as well. What was the competitive positioning?
Fred Laluyaux: In 2006, SAP was not talking about in-memory computing. They were not looking at a modeling and planning engine. I was with SAP and we were not talking about that at all. We were trying to rationalize and integrate a hyper complex stack of solutions that had come together through acquisitions.
Michael saw an opportunity to collapse and re-think the way that modeling and planning are done. Today, we allow business users and business analysts to actually consume and distribute those models on their own without having to work with a series of consultants and experts. That is often required if you use an Oracle, SAP, or IBM solution. Michael wanted to provide business users with a scalable and easy-to-use solution that had audit and collaboration capabilities of enterprise software.
Sramana: The value that you are proposing requires you to tie into a lot of backend systems. What backend systems does Anaplan sit on top of?
Fred Laluyaux: We sit on top of Oracle, SAP, IBM and a ton of custom built data warehouses that log and store all of the transactions.