Appian collects $37.5 million from New Enterprise Associates as it plans IPO

Reston-based Appian has added $37.5 million from New Enterprise Associates to its bank account, a move that executives said will prime the maker of business software for an initial public offering in a few years.

NEA general partner Harry Weller will join Appian’s board of directors as part of the deal. His prior investments include Cvent, Eloqua, Groupon, SourceFire and Vonage, among others.

Although Appian is private and does not disclose revenue figures, chief executive Matt Calkins said the Virginia-based company registered about $90 million in sales last year. Appian has been profitable for years, he said.

“We didn’t get this money in order to shore up a faulty financial position,” Calkins said. “Instead, the big deal about this money isn’t that we have a fixed amount and we’re going to spend a fixed amount but that we have a partner who is capable of taking us where we need to go.”

And the company is headed for the public markets, Calkins said. Although Appian’s financial position would allow it to go public now, Calkins said, waiting will allow the company to “approach the markets from a position of strength.”

“We look forward to a public offering,” he said. “We don’t have a plan to go public immediately, but I imagine we will a few years hence.”

Calkins said that a portion of the $37.5 million will be used to buy out previous investors, but he declined to say how much. Appian raised $10 million from Novak Biddle Venture Partners in 2008.

Calkins said there are no immediate plans for acquisitions or hiring sprees.

“To me, it wasn’t about the money, it was about the partner,” he said.

“NEA doesn’t just join your board without taking a piece of your company,” Calkins said. “So, if you want the best Sherpa on your way up the mountain, you have to deal them in.”

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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