Today we begin the next chapter of our story. I am thrilled to announce that Camunda has raised a €25 million Series A from Highland Europe – the first external funding in our ten-year history.
When Bernd and I started Camunda back in 2008, we just wanted to run our own consulting business. We focused on business process management (BPM) because we found the challenge of modeling and automating business processes truly fascinating. Back then, the big players sold their BPMS products propagating a low-code approach that would allow business users to automate processes without involving software developers. We were quite alone in our conviction that this approach was bound to fail, and when we launched Camunda BPM in 2013 as a developer-friendly alternative to those products, many people believed we should have stuck with our successful consulting business.
Swimming against the tide has paid off handsomely. In the past five years, our team has grown from 13 to 100 highly qualified Camundi in Germany and the United States. Because we never raised any external capital, we had to grow our revenue accordingly and were profitable during all those years (and still are). And we achieved all that with an enterprise software product that is published under liberal open source licenses such as Apache 2.0. I think this combination is remarkable, and we can be proud of it.
With thousands of open source users and hundreds of enterprise customers, it’s humbling to see the variety of business processes that are driven by workflow automation. Selling insurances (and settling the respective claims), trading stocks or handling e-commerce orders are the more common examples. But we’re also seeing workflow automation being applied for biotech lab robots, NASA space missions and the legalized marijuana industry. While each of these business processes is fairly different, it’s all powered by Camunda.
Now it’s time to shift gears.
This year, Microsoft acquired GitHub because “every company is becoming a software company, and developers are at the center of digital transformation” (quoted from their press release). IBM acquired Red Hat for pretty much the same reason. Not just the IT industry, but the whole economy is at an inflection point. The mentioned acquisitions, as well as the general rise of open source enterprise software companies, are just a taste of what “digital transformation” really means. For Camunda, it means a breathtaking potential: We enable any organization in any industry to automate their business with a technology that truly empowers both software developers and business stakeholders. This is the category we are committed to lead.
In pursuit of this vision, we will accelerate the further development of our product stack and spread its adoption worldwide. We will double down on open source and invest heavily in our community, as well as continue to publish our innovations with new projects like bpmn.io and zeebe.io. We will be pioneering with a technology stack that is not only embraced by developers, but also serves any business stakeholder involved in workflow automation projects — our tools like Cawemo and Optimize are just the first examples. And we will be on the ground to help our local communities and customers to be successful with Camunda, adding new offices all over the world to the ones we already have in Germany and the United States.
When we decided the time was ripe to raise a series A, we had already been contacted by close to 100 venture capital firms. We spoke to dozens, but no one matched our culture to the same extent as Highland Europe. They’re smart and ambitious, but also friendly and humble, and this mix was more important to us than anything else. They are the perfect partner to join us on this journey.
Thank you to everyone for making today possible. I look forward to growing Camunda to the next level, together with you.