Why We Invested In Zenphi

October 31, 2022
Sean Stuart

Sometimes a product demo comes along that is so good, it feels like you have been told a secret about the future.

We are excited to announce our lead investment into Zenphi’s Pre-Seed financing round to share that secret with the world. We were also joined by Afterwork Ventures in the round.

Zenphi is a no-code workflow automation platform. It empowers non-developers, to use a visual editor to create powerful integrations between their apps, as well as leverage complex logic and even AI capabilities to automate everyday processes. It’s like a supercharged version of Zapier.

Turning the mundane into magic is what the founders, Vahid, Aravin and Steve have done for more than a decade. They were the founding engineers that built Nintex, a $2B no-code unicorn, one of the first in the industry. With their unique learnings, they are ready to build the next wave of no-code automation products that customers love.

The Next Revolution

In the industrial revolution, inventions such as the Spinning Jenny saved workers hours of manual labour from the old spinning wheel. The workflow automation revolution may do the same for white-collar work.

The average time people spend on duplicate office tasks per week is 4 hours and 38 minutes, which amounts to about 10% of the work week. Think about sending that onboarding email, processing an invoice or the back and forth of sending an NDA.

These are repetitive, tasks that could be automated, saving time and increasing productivity. — The automation revolution is not about replacing workers, it’s about providing them with their own tools to automate repetitive tasks and focus on uniquely human tasks.

We believe that the future of work is not just about remote tools that empower collaboration between people, it is about tools that empower collaboration with machines. No-code automation software will play a key role in this future remote work future. Employees from the comfort of their homes can automate a process that previously took hours out of their day.

The global workflow automation market was valued at US$12 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 30.6% from 2021 to 2028. A key driver is the rise of SaaS tools, which make up 70% of companies’ software. These systems often don’t talk to each other and require lots of human intervention to connect them.

Zenphi automates these different SaaS workflows, leading to a powerful connected system.

Not only does Zenphi have these tailwinds, but it also benefits from the explosion in demand for no-code tools. Developer shortages and ever-increasing developer road maps have led to dev teams spending 30% of their resources building/maintaining internal tools. No-code software is a movement that has bridged this gap, empowering anyone in a company to leverage the power of code without having to read/write it.

Zenphi is at the intersection of the automation and no-code market, both of which we believe will compound significantly over the next decade.

Why it’s different?

Workflow automation platforms are not new. Enterprises have had access to them for a decade with companies such as ServiceNow and Nintex. But the market is all focused on large enterprises, who are predominately on the Microsoft Office Suite. To our knowledge, no competitor has built a product around Google Workspace, which accounts for 10% of the total spend on office productivity software and gaining market share.

A platform that focuses on Google Workspace has a number of advantages — data can stay in Google Cloud, more powerful connections for Workspace Apps (Gmail, sheets etc) and UI/UX that feels like a customer never leaves the Google environment.

We also believe it will be a significant distribution advantage. Channel partners were key to Nintex’s success as they bundled the software with the Office Suite as it improved the experience of using Office. Google channel partners can do the same…

The Dream Team

Aura Group with Zenphi founders
Eric Chan and Sean Stuart with Zenphi founders

The team lives and breathes workflow automation software — they write blogs on it, tweet about it and understand the landscape better than anyone else.

For good reason, the co-founding team consists of founding employees of Nintex, one of the largest incumbents in the space and one of the first unicorns in the no-code industry. Steve was the first employee at Nintex and had a twelve-year career at the company where he finished as the CTO. Vahid joined as employee #30 and was with the company for eight years playing a key management role for the hyper-scale phase of the company as Vice President of Product & Engineering. Aravinthan was a senior engineer at the company for three years and has deep technical experience across a range of developer-led companies.

The operational experience has given them an unparalleled advantage in developing product, they understand structural forces that inhibit the enterprise players from coming downstream and how to architect a cloud-native automation product that builds from the limitations of Nintex’s offering.

In the word’s of Vahid, they have been given a ‘second chance’ to make the magic happen again.