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Billion Dollar Unicorns: Anaplan Gets Ready to Enter the Club

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 16th 2015

According to a Market Share Report, the global ERP software market grew 3.8% to be worth $25.4 billion in 2013. The market was dominated by SAP which accounted for nearly a quarter of the share with $6.1 billion in ERP software revenues. Oracle came in a distant second with $3.11 billion in sales followed by Sage’s $1.5 billion sales. The report reveals that today companies want faster results and thus are shifting to cloud-based systems that are seen as being more agile and responsive to changing business model needs. Cloud-based planning capability provider and Billion Dollar Unicorn club contender Anaplan is a rising star in this market.

Anaplan’s Offerings

San Francisco-based Anaplan was founded in 2006 by Michael Gould, an ex-IBMer. Michael had worked for a company that was acquired by Cognos, which was subsequently acquired by IBM. He worked for four years at IBM when he realized that the existing vendor architecture available at that time was not able to support the next generation of planning software. Driven by the market opportunity, he quit his job in 2007 to work on Anaplan. Legend has it that he actually locked himself in a barn in the UK and started coding. It took him four years to come up with the core technology behind Anaplan.

The platform for Anaplan is Hyperblock, a solution that integrates a cube, columnar, and cell-based database together to enable organizations to plan and recalculate complex business models at faster speeds. The solution boasts of being scalable and easy-to-use along with possessing the audit and collaboration capabilities of enterprise software.

Their platform enables users to build multi-dimensional models to the smallest building block with dimensions such as periodicity, hierarchies, and relationships. Users are able to create dynamic scenarios, perform real-time calculations, and collaborate with others on the model. The system sits atop multiple existing ERP solutions and gathers data from the organization’s finance, sales, IT, human resources, and other business teams and integrates them into a single planning platform. Last year, Anaplan expanded their offerings by adding App Hub, an application community for enterprise planning. Within the year, the community saw user base grow to over 35,000 Anaplanners. Anaplan has an impressive customer portfolio which includes names like McAfee, HP, and Pandora.

Anaplan’s Financials

Anaplan does not disclose detailed financials. In an interview I conducted with their CEO Fred Laluyaux in 2014, he did mention that they will be close to $100 million in bookings that year. They weren’t profitable till 2014.

They are venture funded so far with $150 million in investments from Salesforce Ventures, Sands Capital Ventures, DFJ Growth, Shasta Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, and Granite Ventures. The last round of funding was held in May 2014 when they raised $100 million at an undisclosed valuation. Analysts estimated that the round would have valued them at $600 million. Anaplan is convinced that they will enter the Billion Dollar Unicorn club soon enough. Anaplan is already making that seem possible with their tie-ups with bigger vendors like Salesforce.com. Their relationship with Deloitte and Accenture allows customers of these companies to access Anaplan software. These agreements are key in helping them compete with legacy vendors including IBM, Oracle, and SAP.

More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.

This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns


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