In Two Years, This Excel-Killing Startup Grew Sales From $US10 Million A Year To $US10 Million A Month

Anaplan CEO Fred LaluyauxBusiness Insider/Julie BortAnaplan CEO Fred Laluyaux

A San Francisco-based startup called Anaplan is on a mission to kill the spreadsheet and is having incredible success.

Think about it: spreadsheet was invented before most of the world had heard of the PC, much less had one, way back in 1979 when software pioneers Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston, founders of Software Arts, built an app called VisiCalc.

Flash forward to 2014, with cloud computing and mobile devices running amok. Yet most of the world is still running their businesses with spreadsheets, namely Microsoft Excel.

Anaplan is slowing prying the spreadsheet from the grips of the business world.

It offers cloud software that’s as easy to use as a spreadsheet, yet does sophisticating financial planning and prediction modelling, with the click of a mouse. Plus, it does things Excel can’t do, like let groups work together.

The company was founded about eight years ago. But it’s really been in the past year that it has started to flourish.

That’s largely due to CEO Frederic Laluyaux, who joined Anaplan two years ago, hired away from SAP, where he was in charge of SAP’s competitive financial planning product.

VisiCalc on the Apple IIWikimedia CommonsThis is VisiCalc, the original spreadsheet

And now the company is making a killing.

It went from making about $US10 million in all of 2012, to $US10 million per quarter in 2013. And $US10 million per month as of Jan. 2014, it told Business Insider.

Anaplan is attracting some big name customers too, such as HP, McAfee, and Pandora.

We asked Laluyaux to tell us his tricks for success. This is what he said:

Business Insider: Why has Anaplan become so popular all of a sudden?

Frederic Laluyaux: This is a space that has been dominated by Oracle, SAP, and IBM and their technology is ageing. … We’ve been able to add hundreds of key accounts in the last few months. … We patiently invested for more than five years in the development of our blazing fast core data engine which is really the “secret sauce” of Anaplan.

BI: Who is using Anaplan and what does it replace?

FL: We are now helping some of the largest companies (HP, Kimberly-Clark, McAfee, Diageo to name a few) … For example with McAfee, Anaplan replaced their use of Excel and Oracle Hyperion.

BI: How has expanding internationally helped you grow?

FL: We opened operations in the UK, France, Sweden, Netherlands, Austria, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Russia. We have also a few strategic partnerships with global organisations like Deloitte and Accenture and with technology partners like Salesforce.com (with more on the way).

I would estimate that 60% of our revenue is now coming from outside of the U.S. so we’re expanding and it’s driving increased deal size. … We had an outstanding Q1 of 2014, as Anaplan achieved over 6x year-over-year growth for contract value booked.

After doubling in employee count last year, Anaplan is set to double again in 2014.

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