Anaplan to double staff with new R&D centre

A FAST-GROWING software company, which has plans to unseat Excel as the financial and planning tool of choice among global businesses, is doubling the size of its development team in Yorkshire after opening a new research and development centre.

Michael Goulding, founder of Anaplan

Anaplan, which was founded in York but is headquartered in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, is creating up to 50 new development jobs in York, taking the number of staff to around 90 in the coming months.

The technology enables companies to plan how to run their business and track and monitor activity. Firms can carry out tasks including sales planning and forecasting, expense management and workforce planning among others.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Anaplan’s inventor and chief technology officer, Michael Gould, said: “This is an alternative to using programmes like Excel for things they were not designed for. Excel is great for personal productivity but not for running large companies on.”

He added: “It is a very open market for us. There are a number of products working in this space but they are 20-30 years old now so we have reached a stage where someone needs to come in and create a completely new platform. A lot of companies are using things like Excel for operations they weren’t designed for. They are doing things on spreadsheets which get the job done but they would be better with purpose-built software.”

The company, which has around 200 customers including HP, Aviva, Wimpey Homes and Diageo, officially opened its new office at The Bonding Warehouse in York yesterday. The building was recently redeveloped after lying derelict for 14 years.

Anaplan expanded into a 9,000 sq ft office, doubling its space from previous offices at Hawk Creative Business Park near Easingwold, and another office in York.

The company has undergone dramatic growth. The firm has tripled growth each year for the past three years and is continuing on that trajectory.

The privately-owned company has a number of investors including venture capitalists DFJ and Meritech and strategic investors such as US-based Salesforce and Workday.

In May it secured over $100m of funding from investors to plough into research, product development and expansion of its sales operation.

The company has 11 offices worldwide including sales offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Europe and the US. Its next step is to open a base in South America.

It targets large companies. “We are targeting bigger companies because we are able to. We hvae a platform that has handled the scale of large data models and can solve the problems of those companies,” Mr Gould said.

Mr Gould leads all of Anaplan’s development from York.

With San Francisco employment reaching an all-time high, he believes that Anaplan can source a stronger development team in Yorkshire than if the team was based in Silicon Valley.

He said: “San Francisco is definitely the right place to be for sales and marketing but we see York as a fantastic base for the research and development team. There is a real talent pool for software engineering. “Four years ago we had a handful of staff and now we are looking to have nearly 100 in York in the next few months.”

He added: “Customers are starting to want to do more with the product. They want us to provide additional functions and enable more users to access the system so we need to develop those things.”

Mr Gould, whose technology background stretches back over 20 years at companies including Cognos and Adaytum, developed Anaplan’s core product from scratch in a barn at his home in Yearsley, North Yorkshire. He worked on the product for four years before commercialising his invention in 2011.