After 20 years of bootstrapping, Durham-based ProcessMaker raises $45M to scale

ProcessMaker isn’t an overnight success story.

But after 20 years of bootstrapping and numerous iterations, the Durham-based company is finally claiming a large stake for itself in the automation market.

This week, it confirmed that it has raised a whopping $45 million in Series A funding from Virginia-based growth equity firm Aldrich Capital Partners.

“Now just seemed right,” its co-founder and CEO Brian S. Reale told Hypepotamus.

“We spent a lot of time and money rebuilding our ‘no-code, low code’ product. Adoption is being massively accelerated by the pandemic. The market is there and growing fast.”

The process automation market is expected to reach $114.17 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 7.23% over the forecast period.

Reale says the investment from Aldrich Capital will allow ProcessMaker to continue to invest in its digital process automation platform and build out its presence in three verticals: community banking, higher education, and manufacturing.

“It was time to get a new perspective and have partners who have been through this part of the growth journey before,” he says. “Now we need to create and grow an executive team and focus on our go-to-market strategy.”


From humble beginnings

ProcessMaker is a “no-code/low-code” open source process automation platform founded during the dotcom boom and bust of 2000 by Reale and Bobby Vernon.

The two entrepreneurs, former middle school friends, say they failed “early and quite often” during their initial years.

“No one wanted to give us money. At some point, we gave up trying and decided to just work like hell to find customers and keep costs as low as possible,” admits Reale, who spent some of those early years building an internet venture in Bolivia, while refining and focusing on their product.

“For years, I would just go hangout in the lobby at tradeshows, realizing that you don’t really need to buy a ticket to get the benefits of meeting people in hotel hallways. It just became second nature.”

Finally, in 2008, things started to turn around. The team launched what is now known around the world as ProcessMaker — one of the first open-source workflow software solutions in the industry at the time.

Slowly, traction grew.

Last year, the company launched its latest generation of software – winning the 2020 CODiE Award for Best Digital Process Automation Software of 2020, and the Stratus Award in 2020.

Today, ProcessMaker has hundreds of customers in 52 countries, 140-plus employees, and more than a million open source downloads. It says it runs “tens of millions of workflow transactions a year for its customers.”

In its mid-market banking vertical, for example, it offers an off-the-shelf commercial account opening process that can be deployed by community banks in just a couple of weeks. During COVID, this meant the banks were able to pivot from in-person commercial account opening to a fully digital, “best-in-class” experience.

In higher education, its software automates student-facing processes like transfer of credit approvals and grade change processes.

At one of the largest public university systems in the US, the company says it reduced the average time for approving transfer credits from five months to 19 hours.

“We make a huge impact on student lives,” explains Reale. “For students who were already struggling with the financial and emotional stress of the pandemic, waiting five months to know when or if transfer credits would be approved, often meant the difference between dropping out of college or staying to graduate.”

Looking ahead, he says he’s excited to build out the team and provide more opportunities for clients.

“We are going to spend all of our time now building ProcessMaker into a world-class organization.”


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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash