Celonis, a tech startup founded a decade ago by 3 college friends, is now worth $13 billion after $1B raise
Every tech startup starts with the need to scratch an itch. However, most successful startup founders are motivated by creativity and the drive to solve problems or make lives better by developing products or services that could help improve people’s lives. They are great listeners and pay attention to the needs and problems around them.
That’s the story behind Celonis, a Munich, Germany-based startup that was founded in 2011 by three college friends, Alexander Rinke, Bastian Nominacher, and Martin Klenk when they were students at the Technical University of Munich. Celonis has been cash flow positive every year since its inception 11 years ago and continues to grow at a triple-digit pace.
Celonis helps organizations optimize their business operations, by using what it calls “process mining” software to find flaws, for example, bottlenecks in supply chains, and eliminate them. Just to give you a glimpse of how big the digital transformation market is, enterprises around the world spend more than $1 trillion annually to integrate digital technology into all areas of business operations and business processes.
We first covered Celonis back in November 2019 after raising $290 million in Series C funding to become a member of the highly-coveted unicorn club at a $2.5 billion valuation. Since our last story, the company has quadrupled in value.
Today, Celonis announced it has secured an additional $1 billion in funds to accelerate its unique position to help customers thrive in challenging economic environments. The round, which includes a $400 million Series D extension and a historic $600 million credit facility with a syndicate of leading global banks, pushes the company’s valuation to $13 billion. The latest funding follows Celonis’ $1 billion funding round announced in June last year.
The $400 million Series D extension is led by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and includes new blue-chip investors Activant Capital, a fund advised by Neuberger Berman, Alta Park Capital and Commonfund Capital. Existing investors including Arena Holdings, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Franklin Templeton, Durable Capital Partners LP, TCV, 83North, Accel Partners and Sator Grove also joined the round extension.
Celonis will use these additional funds to invest in product innovation, drive adoption with Global 2000 customers, expand market potential with acquisition investments, and deepen penetration with ecosystem partners.
As Germany’s most valuable private company and New York’s most valuable start-up, Celonis started as a university project just 11 years ago and achieved unicorn status in 2018.
Founded in 2011, Celonis is a New York- and Munich-based leader in enterprise performance acceleration software, turning process insights into action with the process mining technology it pioneered. Its Intelligent Business Cloud allows organizations to rapidly understand and improve the operational backbone of their business. Companies around the world including Siemens, GM, 3M, Airbus and Vodafone rely on Celonis technology to guide action and drive change to business processes, resulting in millions of dollars saved and an improved experience for their customers.
The Celonis five-year $500 million line of credit is expandable to $600 million and is the largest syndicated bank recurring revenue revolving credit facility of its kind. This debt facility was led by KeyBanc Capital Markets, with Goldman Sachs, HSBC Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc., Citibank, and Deutsche Bank acting as joint lead arrangers. Lenders in the syndicate also included RBC Capital Markets, Silicon Valley Bank, SMBC, Citizens, MUFG and Bank of America.
“Since the first days of Celonis, we have built a company that is operating on sound fundamentals, immutable customer value, and the kind of resiliency that performs at the highest levels in any economic environment,” said Bastian Nominacher, co-CEO and co-founder of Celonis. “These fundamentals are what puts Celonis in such a unique position to lean into the wind, while others are stepping back. With an additional $1 billion in liquidity, Celonis will have maximum flexibility to aggressively innovate, capitalize on new market opportunities, and extend our market leadership.”
“There is a ‘behind-the-scenes secret’ that Celonis is equally effective in driving top and bottom line value in both booming and challenging economies,” said Alex Rinke, co-CEO and co-founder of Celonis. “We have never experienced more urgency from customers to use Celonis to hunt down and fix the kind of process problems that can yield tens to hundreds of millions in cash and time savings.”
“Celonis is well aligned with QIA’s strategic focus on innovative, best-in-class companies that are shaping the global economy of the future,” said Mansoor Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA. “Celonis is providing clear added value for its customers by enhancing their operational efficiency and driving their performance. QIA looks forward to a long-term and productive relationship.”