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Celonis: the $1bn German software firm disrupting management consulting

Celonis, a German software provider seeking to disrupt the management consulting sector, has become the latest European startup to reach a $1bn valuation.

Earlier this week, the company announced it had raised $50m in series B funding from existing investors, Accel and 83 North, after exceeding its growth targets since its last fundraise in 2016.

Headquartered in Munich, the company was founded by three students in 2011 and has been profitable every year since, attracting clients including Transport for London, Vodafone and Uber. Celonis aims to cut clients’ operating costs by providing data and analysis to inform their transformation programmes. Its software can, for example, identify inefficiencies in supply chains.

Traditionally, this is a job carried out by management consultants and often takes several weeks to complete. Celonis, however, claims it can automate the process. But co-CEO Alexander Rinke says the need for consultants hasn’t disappeared altogether.

“What we see more and more is that consultants leverage the software,” he tells NS Tech. “Every single big four [professional services firm] is a customer of ours. They recognised that while they would be able to sell less man-hours on the assessment, the interviews and the manual walkthroughs, they would be able to create more value for the customer.”

“Initially, they saw it as competition, but management consultants realised that actually it’s a great model to disrupt themselves, create these partnerships and offer better value to customers,” he adds. “They can focus on developing innovative solutions.”

Rinke and his fellow founders Bastian Nominacher and Martin Klenk intend to use the latest round to push forward the company’s international expansion. It is currently in the process of moving to a new US HQ in New York with capacity for 150 people. The company employs around 350 people globally.

“We are hiring people very fast”, says Rinke. “Last week we had our quarterly onboarding and we had 95 new people.”

Celonis generates half of its sales revenue in the US, according to a press statement, and claims to have grown by 5,000 per cent in the past four years, and 300 per cent in the past year.

NS Tech understands the company has hired a number of UK-based staff over the last few weeks and plans to officially open a UK office later this summer.