Robotic Process Automation


Power Score: 41.40 Momentum Score: 44.0 (3) HQ: McLean, VA CEO: Matt Calkins


Valuation: $6.4 billion (+75% YoY)

Amt. Raised: $10 million


Lobbying Spend: No

Industry Orgs: No


Headcount: 1,673 (+18% YoY)

Engineering Headcount: 381 (+14% YoY)

Big Tech Experience: 3%

Open Roles: 302


R&D Spending: $70.2 million (+21% YoY)

Patents Applied For: 6

Patents Owned: 9

Acquisitions: No


Exec Team Exits: No

Diversity Data?: No

ESG/CSR Data?: No

On Power

As with Pegasystems and NICE, RPA is not the technology that's been at the core of Appian's ascendance of the last several years. Widely regarded as a leader in the low-code space, Appian put together one of the biggest tech IPOs in 2017 at a time when analysts projected exponential growth for low-code tech akin to projections being made today about RPA. Appian formally entered the market at the beginning of 2020 with the acquisition of Novayre Solutions SL, but the company hasn't established RPA as a standalone offering. Instead, CEO Matt Calkins has said that he sees low-code and RPA not as parallel marketplaces in the future, but as one converged space. As a result, Appian has packaged RPA capabilities with its broader suite of low-code business process automation tools as it attempts to unify the tech.

On Disruption

Appian spent 20% more on R&D in the most recent fiscal year compared to the year prior; it also recorded the largest increase in headcount outside of Automation Anywhere and UiPath. Still, Appian's disruptive potential depends on its ability to develop industry-leading RPA features within a low-code ecosystem. It's a daunting challenge considering Appian must keep pace with the likes of UiPath and Automation Anywhere, which are more exclusively focused on RPA, but it also gives Appian the chance to define a niche within a space that's still evolving. To that end, Appian has, in recent years, built out a consulting arm to help clients implement its vision for an intertwined low-code RPA software ecosystem, a further effort by the company to redefine the software's landscape.

Tea Leaves

Appian's stock has significantly outpaced the S&P 500 throughout the past year, most recently adding to its growth in June via two short squeezes that put the company's stock up 50% over the course of the month. Besides immediate Wall Street gains, though, the company is also sharpening its process automation offerings long term. With the recent acquisition of process mining company Lana Labs — too recent to be reflected in this analysis — Appian will add further capability to its RPA tools.

They Said It

"You hear about the RPA industry and the low-code industry and process management and workflow, and I think they're all the same industry. I think low-code automation contains all of these elements and AI, and they all belong together." — CEO Matt Calkins in a June 2021 interview

This piece was updated on Sept. 9, 2021 to exclude a secondary transaction that was previously counted towards Appian's amount raised.
Robotic Process Automation