Appian and tech IPO’s for horses

Appian raised just $48m as a private company, compared with $163m for Alteryx, $220m for Okta, $259m for MuleSoft and more than $1bn for Cloudera. In fact, all four of the unicorn IPOs raised more in a single round of private-market funding than Appian did in total VC funding.Not having done an IPO-sized funding in the private market meant that Appian could come public with a more modest raise. (It took in just $75m, compared with this year’s previous IPOs that raised, on average, $190m for the four unicorns.) And, probably most importantly, the Appian offering showed that these types of IPOs can work, both for issuers and investors. (Appian created about $900m of market value, and saw its shares finish the first day of trading up about 25%.) So when it comes to IPOs for the second half of this year, the ‘Appian way’ could help a lot more startups make it to Wall Street. “Will the ‘Appian way’ lead more startups to Wall Street?”
Brenon Daly

Put another way: maybe you don’t have to be unicorn class to IPO now? Who knows really, it’s always a bit of a mystery.

Pretty RAD, customer count and profile

That said, what exactly does Appian do? Seems like one of those SaaS workflow/RAD companies. Nuthin’ wrong with that:

Appian provides app development software for its business and government customers. “With our platform, organizations can rapidly and easily design, build and implement powerful, enterprise-grade custom applications through our intuitive, visual interface with little or no coding required,” the company explained in their S-1 filing…. Appian acknowledges that its biggest competitors are Salesforce and ServiceNow. IBM and Oracle are also in related spaces.

More from Duncan Riley:

Founded in 1999, Appian offers a software as a service platform that helps business people create enterprise applications, especially for managing business processes, without needing programming expertise. The company is known for its “low-code” approach that allows non-programmers to create applications using building blocks and data, but managed and deployed by developers in a company’s information technology department, all on the same technology platform.

And:

  • “…booked $135 million in sales for the 12 months ended March 31, albeit at a loss of $12.5 million.”
  • “The company’s client base includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sprint, Ryder, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, BUPA North America, CenturyLink and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Meanwhile, Gartner’s magic quadrant on this space (“Enterprise High- Productivity Application Platform as a Service”), says of Appian:

Appian is an hpaPaaS vendor with strong business process management (BPM) and case management capabilities. Appian has been delivering its Appian Cloud platform since 2007. It has taken a uni ed-platform approach that enables a single application de nition to be accessed on a range of devices without additional development. Appian applications can be developed and executed both on-premises and on its aPaaS offering. Appian has positioned its Appian Cloud platform for general-purpose application development, which includes robust process orchestration, application life cycle management and integration capabilities that compete with both hpaPaaS and high-performance RAD vendors, with a common per-user or per-application-and-user pricing model.

And a few more interesting items from Gartner:

  • “There are more than 400 customers using Appian Cloud”
  • “90% of the reference customers delivered applications in less than three months, which is a much higher proportion than average.”
  • “With a predominantly direct selling effort and higher price point, Appian’s focus has been at the higher end of hpaPaaS market and not on small or midsize businesses (SMBs).”
  • It uses OSGi!

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