Top venture capitalists and the investment arm of Workday are putting more dollars behind Suplari, a Seattle startup that uses artificial intelligence to help companies understand and get a handle on their spending.
The company reeled in an additional $5 million from Amplify Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Shasta Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and Workday Ventures, the venture arm of HR giant Workday. Suplari previously raised a $10.3 million Series A round in April 2018. Suplari CEO Nikesh Parekh said the fresh funding is part of a new, larger round. He declined to comment on valuation.
As companies increasingly use various software to help run their businesses, they sit on mounds and mounds of data, especially related to procurement and spending.
Suplari sits on top of enterprise systems and analyzes all of that data to provide recommendations for cost savings, risk exposure, and other efficiency gaps. It serves as an alternative to compiling data in an app such as Excel or Tableau and having a team of analysts comb through the information themselves.
The startup will use the new investment to focus on providing custom recommendations to companies based on their individual needs. It has more than 20 customers including Hulu, Nordstrom, and 21st Century Fox.
“We automate a lot of the analysis and make recommendations based on what employees should do next, so they are more productive and working on more strategic things instead of spending time with data analytics,” Parekh said.
Parekh said Suplari is now “deeply invested” in its partnership with Workday, which started out as an investor and is now both a partner and a customer of Suplari. Publicly-traded Workday, which just acquired a Seattle startup Trusted Key, has expanded beyond HR-related software and into financial systems and supply chain management in recent years.
“Suplari is a great compliment to everything Workday is doing,” Parekh said.
Suplari is among a bevy of startups using A.I. and machine learning to automate manual processes involving tons of data, and provide recommendations based on the computer-aided number crunching. There are several companies in Seattle applying similar technology in various industries, such as Attunely, Lexion, Sigma IQ, and others.
Gerber is a long-time engineering leader who co-founded startups including iConclude (acquired by Opsware and later by HP) and helped lead Apptio’s machine learning and intelligent app development before the company went public in 2016.
White worked with Gerber at iConclude as an early employee and did stints at Amazon Web Services and Skytap.
There are connections between the three founders and Madrona. Gerber previously worked at three separate Madrona-backed companies; White worked for two Madrona-backed companies; Parekh was an entrepreneur-in-residence at the firm a decade ago.
Suplari plans to add another 15 employees over the next year; current headcount is past 40 people. Total funding to date is $18.6 million.
“As customers face increasing pressure to manage complex data sets and closely align spend to optimize their resources, Suplari’s library of proactive insights can help organizations better manage their finance, supply chain, procurement, and IT data,” Mark Peek, managing director and co-head, Workday Ventures, said in a statement. “Together Workday and Suplari provide customers with real-time analytics and reports on a single system, which can help support cost savings, reduce supplier risk, and enhance purchasing compliance.”