Anaplan: How One Software Engineer Built a Market Leader Out of a Barn in England

Anaplan is a cloud-based financial planning software provider based in San Francisco. Its business planning and performance management platform is based on a single hub where business users can create and use models.

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The Silicon Valley unicorn startup was founded in 2006, with the goal of saving some of the world’s leading enterprises billions of dollars in time and resources each year due to inflexible, ineffective planning technology.

Anaplan’s co-founder, Michael Gould, had worked in enterprise software for over 20 years, and was frustrated with the inefficiency of handling large sets of data and complexity. He started work on the core calculation engine for his startup out of his office in a brick barn in Yorkshire, U.K., for two and a half years before bringing together a team of five and gathering a small amount of investment. Now, the firm heads of against tech giants such as SAP and Oracle in its high flying industry. Gould indicates that the company has “just scratched the surface” of its goal at “shifting the heart of all decision making within an organization.” The company employs over 1,000 employees in 20 offices and 13 countries, serving over 850 worldwide customers.

In December 2017, the software provider closed a $60 million funding round from existing investors such as Premji Invest, lifting its valuation to $1.4 billion, compared to its previous valuation at $1.1 billion in 2016. Premji Invest, the investment fund of Indian billionaire Azim Premji, the founder of Indian outsourcing company WiPo, has led various rounds alongside other backers including Salesforce Ventures and Top Tier Capital. Anaplan’s most recent Series F round brought its total funding to $300 million.

In 2016, at a time when money stopped flowing as freely into tech startups, Anaplan’s Chief Executive Officer, former SAP executive Frederic Laluyaux, stepped down. In January 2017, the company hired Frank Calderoni, a well-known, long-time industry vet. Before taking the helm at the software provider, Calderoni held the title of Chief Financial Officer at Red Hat and executive vice president of operations. Before that, he spent eleven years as at legacy networking giant Cisco Systems as CFO.

In February, the company announced that it had exceeded $200 million in billings and added over 200 new customers in its fiscal year 2018.