Next Matter, a no-code solution, has been awarded $16 million to automate corporate operations.

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Next Matter, a workflow automation platform for company operations, announced today the completion of a $16 million Series A fundraising round headed by OMERS Ventures, with participation from BlueYard and Crane Venture. According to CEO Jan Hugenroth, the revenues will be used to grow the team from 15 to 75 people, with a focus on the United States and Europe. (Next Matter is based in Berlin.)

Hugenroth sees four major problems for firms in the present economic situation. According to him, operational excellence is becoming a must-have; COOs are employing "duct-tape" solutions to improve processes; and operations are evolving quickly, leaving organizations' tech stacks in the dust. Hugenroth launched Next Matter to solve these issues by replacing the patchwork of spreadsheets, email, pricey bespoke applications, and chat clients that many businesses use with a platform that connects numerous technologies (e.g., HubSpot, Slack, and Zapier) to — in theory — simplify various operations.

"While expansion at any cost, with little emphasis on operational efficiency and quality, has been the "normal" operating mode for the previous decade, we are now approaching a 'new normal.'" Hugenroth confirmed this to NSDC via email. "Because every company's operations are unique, an appropriate solution to a company's operations difficulties must be customized to each company's unique conditions... In the absence of a good solution that is quick and easy to implement, organizations are always playing catch-up, with frequently out-of-date process documentation and a lot of error-fixing and -handling necessary when things don't work out, resulting in a lot of manual labor."

Users may drag and drop modules from Next Matter's mobile and online apps to design and automate workflows, forms, and procedures from scratch or from prebuilt templates. A customer, for example, could set up a "Supplier Onboarding" workflow that includes steps like "Finalize contract terms," "Create legal documents," "Upload documents to Google Drive," and "Prepare training sessions," assigning each step to one or more employees and linking it to apps like Google Sheets, Dropbox, and Salesforce. Users may utilize automation tools to transport data to and from systems as well as trigger processes depending on system events, while managers can view projects and task monitoring metrics such as speed and cost.

Business process automation is a thriving sector, with several providers fighting for a place at the top. Next Matter competes not just with integration platforms such as Zapier and Make (previously Integromat), but also with low-code app builders such as Bubble and Retool, and workflow tools such as Kissflow, Pipefy, and Process Street.

Hugenroth, on the other hand, claims that the competition's platform is just not as comprehensive as Next Matter's.

Source: Next Matter

"What distinguishes Next Matter from other solutions like workflow, integration, or task management software is that it integrates all of them into a single platform purpose-built for operations," Hugenroth explained. "For example, Next Matter customer Carvolution offers automobile rental services, which need several operational stages involving many individuals, teams, systems, and external partners before a contract can be completed and you can drive away." Next Matter implies that the entire process can be automated and choreographed, reducing the number of emails and tools used to expedite back-office activities as well as key, customer-facing processes, therefore improving both efficiency and customer experience."

In another attempt to differentiate itself, Next Matter provides consulting services in addition to its software product. Clients are assigned an "operations specialist" who aids in identifying potential for process automation, assisting with onboarding, and assisting change management.

"Our efforts so far have enabled us to establish a strong competitive alternative to more general software packages that are not purpose-built for operations and only answer sections of what is necessary," Hugenroth added. "This means that CIOs and CTOs can reallocate product and software development resources dedicated to developing custom solutions for running operations to other areas, reduce the number of legacy custom operations solutions that require ongoing maintenance,... [and] create a single source of truth for the company's operations data that can be used to guide operational improvement programs and decision making."

Customers of Next Matter include Trade Republic, Spreetail, and Shift.com, as well as other firms in financial services, insurance, and e-commerce. Hugenroth said the objective is to grow into other industries "with similar operational excellence needs."

The question is whether the process automation industry has hit its peak. Some portions of it appear to have, such as robotic process automation (RPA) – a recent Forrester Research research forecasts that demand for RPA will begin to flatten as organizations migrate to wider automation solutions. But Hugenroth is upbeat.

"We believe that the present economic situation and approaching recession will make operational excellence must have' for scaleups and firms to flourish," Hugenroth added. "We already see an increasing pull for implementing Next Matter with the fastest-moving businesses that respond quickly to looming challenges, and we expect to see an increasing number of large-scale operations transformation programs running on Next Matter as companies aim to grow further without adding more resources or need to save cost to get to profitability faster."

Next Matter, which has been in operation for five years, has raised a total of $20 million.

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