Anaplan looked like another troubled unicorn -- but it's back on track with a new $1.4 billion valuation

AnaplanFrank Calderoni just took over as Anaplan’s CEO in January.

  • Anaplan has raised $US60 million in a new funding round that pushes its valuation to $US1.4 billion, up from $US1.1 billion.
  • The new funding marks a keystone moment for first-time CEO Frank Calderoni, a well-known Silicon Valley executive who formerly served as chief financial officer at Cisco and Red Hat.
  • The funding also indicates the company is heading in the right direction after a prolonged transition period between CEOs last year.

Anaplan, the unicorn startup taking on SAP and Oracle with its cloud-based financial planning software, appears to have resumed its rise.

The company just closed a $US60 million funding round from existing investors. The round brings Anaplan’s valuation to $US1.41 billion.

That’s not only up from its previous valuation of $US1.1 billion, it’s marks a keystone moment for company CEO Frank Calderoni. It’s also a signal that Anaplan is heading in the right direction after a prolonged transition from its last CEO to Calderoni.

Anaplan has now raised a total of $US300 million. Its latest funding round, like previous rounds, was led by Premji Invest, the investment fund of Indian billionaire Azim Premji, founder of Indian outsourcing company WiPo. Previous investors Salesforce Ventures and Top Tier Capital also participated in the round.

Anaplan was a venture capital darling in the heady days of 2015 and early 2016. When it raised its last round, it became a unicorn, the name for startups worth $US1 billion or more.

But when the tide shifted in early 2016 from free-flowing investment money to tighter funding rounds, lower valuations, and austerity, Anaplan’s CEO, Frederic Laluyaux, a former SAP executive, was out. His departure in April 2016 was a mutual decision with the company, according to theWall Street Journal.

Anaplan said at the time it wanted a new CEO who would help it grow. It didn’t find what it was looking for until it hired Calderoni in January, poaching him from Red Hat.

Running Anaplan is a job Calderoni’s been well-groomed to do

Calderoni is a well-known, long-time industry executive. He spent 11 years as Cisco’s chief financial officer before serving a stint as Red Hat’s CFO and executive vice president of operations.

During his time as a CFO, Calderoni depended on the kind of financial modelling tools that Anaplan makes. Anaplan promises that its cloud software is faster and easier to use than traditional tools such as Oracle Hyperion.

Anaplan customersTwitter/Frank CalderoniA tweet from Calderoni about meeting with Anaplan’s customers.

Calderoni has spent this year travelling the world meeting with Anaplan employees. But his favourite moment as CEO happened a few months ago when a US customer invited him to observe a financial presentation.

The customer’s financial team had signed up for Anaplan. In seven weeks, the team had built financial planning models for seven areas of its business and was presenting them to the company’s CEO and CFO.

While Calderoni was there, members of the customer’s financial team approached him. Anaplan wasn’t just changing how they built forecasting models or saving them money, the team members told him. It was saving them time.

“The finance [organisation] works long hours,” Calderoni said in an interview with Business Insider. These people were thanking him for “freeing up so much time to spend more time with their families.”

Calderoni left the meeting feeling like his startup wasn’t just delivering a product, it was changing lives. He felt happy with his choice to leave his high-profile job at Red Hat.

But Calderoni’s favourite thing about being CEO is being able to help shape Anaplan’s culture. He’s been involved in initiatives ranging from moves to attract and keep more women to choosing which charities to support. He’s also been involved in fun stuff like a organising employee outings to San Francisco’s AT&T Park to watch Giants baseball games and hang out with the players.

Anaplan has just over 800 employees and just over 800 customers worldwide. Its revenues are in the “couple hundred millions,” Calderoni said. Meanwhile, the company is delivering the growth the board wanted him to spur; Anaplan is gaining about 70 new customers a quarter, he said.

Calderoni plans to eventually lead the company to an initial public offering. But that’s not in the works yet, he said.

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