Today, we are thrilled to announce a $4.5 million seed financing in Zeitworks, a company incubated at Madrona Venture Labs, that is automating process discovery, mapping and measurement. We are also excited to partner again with Ryan Windham – who previously was the CEO of Cedexis in our portfolio – and welcome our new co-investors JAZZ Venture Partners, and entrepreneur Spencer Rascoff, founder of Zillow.
Most investments we make at Madrona follow the time-tested model in which an entrepreneur pitches us his/her vision of how to change the world and we end up partnering because we believe that is the right team taking on an important market opportunity for which the time has come. And we also need to believe that we can directly contribute to their success. Occasionally, we have bent that model and incubated a company at Madrona via Madrona Venture Labs, that has a full fledged incubation program. Zeitworks is the outcome of one such collaboration in a space that we have a deep conviction in.
Intelligent applications have been at the core of our investing strategy for years. The proliferation of data, and the ability to process it and derive insights has changed both consumer facing and enterprise facing experiences. In the last couple of years we have seen this extend to automating tasks and we have become more involved with companies looking to change how work gets done, as evidenced by our investment in UiPath, the leader in RPA. But understanding the work and the process is a required element to actually automating.
Businesses in every industry execute hundreds of repetitive business processes for wide-ranging use cases such as claims processing, employee onboarding, order processing, returns management, etc. to name just a few. The success of such processes, and in turn of the businesses executing those, critically depend on the efficiency of those processes and the ability to improve their efficiencies. However, in an overwhelming majority of cases, the processes are not documented – or, at least poorly documented – and not measured accurately enough. As a result, businesses struggle to understand the true costs of their processes, identify the bottlenecks and make improvements that would have the highest ROI.
Traditionally, process discovery and modeling has been largely manual – serviced by consulting firms such as Accenture, Deloitte, PWC, etc. – and as a result, costly and time-consuming. However, with every business undergoing digital transformation, automated discovery and measurement of processes is increasingly becoming key to success.
Zeitworks is building a process discovery/mining product to automatically map, measure, and improve business processes across all applications, without IT integrations, consultants, interviews, or workshops. The operative word here is “automatically:” Zeitworks collects data on user activity and events via desktop sensors, applies Machine Learning to automatically discover and map processes, and analyzes and measures those processes to understand, optimize and automate those.
While process discovery and mining is not new, what makes Zeitworks possible today is the convergence of three macro trends – (a) the availability of “infinite” compute thanks to cloud computing, (b) the ability to collect large volumes of high-fidelity data, and (c) the maturity of ML/AI techniques to identify patterns and extract unique insights. Capitalizing on advanced ML algorithms and the computing ability to process vast amounts of data, Zeitworks can help identify repetitive processes and provide insights into how they are being accomplished now and how they can be completed more efficiently. Equally importantly, Zeitworks requires no deep technology integrations, enabling teams to deploy the software and realize value in a matter of hours.
From a market need standpoint, the focus on digital transformation and increasing efficiencies is driving business users’ awareness of the benefits of analyzing and understanding their own processes. We believe that Zeitworks will be a key enabler in that inevitable digital transformation of enterprises.
At Madrona Venture Labs (MVL), the founders Ryan Windham, Ben Elowitz and Matthew Holloway tested the idea behind Zeitworks extensively, with input from hundreds of prospective customers and us, while assembling a world-class team of product and technology leaders to go execute that vision. MVL continues to be core to our work with early stage founders – the MVL process includes both ideating and testing as well as partnering with a wide variety of technical and business founders – and Zeitworks is a great example of a world-class founding team taking on a market opportunity we have a deep conviction in.
We could not be more excited to partner with Ryan and team and we look forward to helping them build the next billion-dollar business in enterprise software!