CNBC Disruptor 50

24. Workato

Founders: Vijay Tella (CEO), Gautham Viswanathan, Dimitris Kogias
Launched: 2013
Headquarters: Mountain View, California
$421 million
Valuation: $5.7 billion
Key technologies:
Cloud computing, machine learning
Enterprise technology
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

When Covid-19 began spreading and employees started working from home, enterprise automation provider Workato quickly released AutoPilot, four bots that remote workers could use to handle repetitive and monotonous administration tasks.

Helping customers adjust to the new reality of work while continuing business processes led Workato to double its customer base to 11,000 over the past year, adding companies like Nokia, Broadcom and Toast. Workato also quadrupled the workload per account, and more than tripled the number of customers' automated business processes.

Workforce technology has been around for decades enabling the automation for various back-office processes. But it's become an increasingly hot topic with a move toward enterprise-wide projects and use of new digital tools. Business managers are prioritizing the automation of repetitive office processes to speed up and streamline tasks, and lower costs to deal with labor shortages, supply disruptions, and sudden shifts in demand. Tapping software to automate processes digitally for such tasks as account payables, employee timesheets, and inventory data collection has been particularly useful for hybrid workplaces.

The enterprise automation market is predicted by Morgan Stanley Research and IDC to grow 20% annually and reach $40.5 billion by 2025 from $15.5 billion in 2020, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing segments in this transitioning field.

Vendor consolidation is underway. Workato acquired Railsdata to scale up its connections for business applications. Competitors UiPath bought integration vendor Cloud Elements, and in the robotic process automation segment, Blue Prism plans a merger with TIBCO, and Salesforce-owned MuleSoft bought Servicetrace.  

The Mountain View-based Workato was established in 2013 by founder and CEO Vijay Tella to transform automation across enterprises with a single platform for data, apps and processes, evolving from complex and fragmented processes. Its accounts in fields ranging from health care to retail to finance and logistics, are achieving good results: better scores for customer service, lower employee turnover rates and shorter payment collections.

Workato differentiates its service by pitching easy-to-use, patented machine learning technology that can be used by both business and IT departments. No coding is required, and its software is designed to work well with AI services such as IBM Watson. Last year, Workato teamed up with HCL Technologies and Cognizant to further integrate its offerings. In a launch with Amazon Web Services, Workato released two products, Connector for seamless integration from data sources and Accelerator for reducing customer churn, and managing employee and customer data.  

Last November, Workato raised $200 million in a Series E deal that hiked its valuation to $5.7 billion. Eight months earlier, it snared $110 million at $1.7 billion. It's raised a total $421 million in venture capital. Battery Ventures led the latest round, and in tow were Tiger Global, Insight Partners and Altimeter Capital.

Over the past year, Workato more than doubled its workforce and established subsidiaries in the U.K., India and Japan, plus opened an office in Dublin and a data center in Frankfurt.

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