Robotic process automation (RPA) is the leading category in enterprise software, and throughout the pandemic, RPA has undergone rapid fire growth as companies quickly adopt solutions to automate time-consuming back-office processes and decrease reliance on human capital. UiPath is the RPA software company that is accelerating the digital workflow transformation at major companies. UiPath’s hyperautomation capabilities save organizations time and money by automating tasks that range from simple to complex. During the pandemic, UiPath has been leveraged by hospitals, international governments, and airlines who have applied the company’s RPA toolkit in a variety of ways. For example, 2 of the top 3 US banks processed 800K SMB applications for the Cares Act and Mater Hospital in Dublin automated the inputting of Covid-19 test results (saving nurses 2-3 hours per day) using the platform. Since our last interview with UiPath in 2018, recurring annual revenue has grown from $100M to $400M. UiPath is already used by 50% of the Fortune 500 companies including McDonald’s, Virgin Media, and Uber
AlleyWatch caught up with CFO Ashim Gupta to discuss UiPath’s tremendous growth, the company’s future plans, and recent funding round. This latest funding values UiPath at $10.2B and the company has raised a total of $1.2B across seven rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
UiPath closed its Series E investment round, raising $225M at a post-money valuation of $10.2B. The round was led by Alkeon Capital Management. Others participating include Accel, Coatue, Dragoneer, IVP, Madrona Venture Group, Sequoia Capital, Tencent, Tiger Global, Wellington, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.
Tell us about the product or service that UiPath offers.
UiPath is the world’s leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) company. RPA is a form of business process automation that emulates people but is equally fast and more accurate.
Building on our core RPA solution, we provide a robust hyperautomation platform that intelligently combines RPA with a full suite of capabilities, including process mining, analytics, and AI. With this powerful, end-to-end offering, we can uniquely empower organizations around the world to experience even greater value from automation at unprecedented speed.
What inspired the start of UiPath?
After eight years working with Microsoft, our CEO and founder Daniel Dines returned to Romania to continue his work developing automation tools. To do that in Bucharest meant starting a company, so he joined forces with cofounder Marius Tirca and others to redefine work. This team developed a software development kit for user interface (which is the origin of the “Ui” in the company name) automation, for developers working in large software development teams. Many of the key features in UiPath’s current product can be traced back to this original work, but everything changed when a customer showed Daniel how it was building off those tools to train software to mimic basic tasks like data entry, with no engineer needed.
How is UiPath different?
Just as Bill Gates envisioned a world with a PC for every desktop, UiPath envisions a world with a robot for every person. When every worker has a robot to help with mundane tasks, it frees employees to use the time for higher-level work. Workers feel less stressed and become happier and more productive.
UiPath’s goal is to bring automation to one billion citizen developers, and we will use our latest funding to double down on R&D, advancing our hyperautomation platform and expanding our cloud offerings. We are committed to working harder to help our customers evolve, transform, and succeed in the world’s new normal.
What market does UiPath target and how big is it?
In the last few years, the RPA market has experienced explosive growth and in the past four months, this growth has even accelerated. According to Forrester Research, “As we emerge from the crisis, firms will look to automation as a way to mitigate the risks that future crises pose to the supply and productivity of human workers.” In 2019, according to Gartner, the RPA software market grew 62.9% to $1.4B and held its position as the fastest-growing segment in the enterprise software market for a second straight year.
To quote Gartner directly, “UiPath continued to hold its No.1 position for the second year in a row, with its 2019 revenue increasing by 122.5% to $343.3M. The vendor’s market share grew from 17.8% to 24.3% in 2019, thanks to its growing partner ecosystem, targeted marketing and customer retention strategies.”
As organizations are increasingly investing in automation to digitize workflows, we add more than 10 new customers every day.
What’s your business model?
UiPath develops, sells, and supports our own products and applications. This is all enabled by a robust technology and channel partner ecosystem.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
From the start of the pandemic, we’ve worked tirelessly to help our customers use automation to maintain continuity and productivity. Because UiPath was born a digital-first company, we were able to quickly adapt to new working models and focus on providing support and relief to our customers.
We’ve created and deployed automations that address new and evolving market needs. To adapt to these changes swiftly and maintain business continuity, organizations have increasingly looked to RPA to create efficient processes for managing new issues, save time for particularly strapped workforces, and harden processes to ensure they have the appropriate structure in place to support business agility no matter what comes their way next.
One example is The Mater Hospital in Dublin, Ireland which is more rapidly helping COVID-19 patients by leveraging RPA. To help manage the growing number of virus tests, UiPath’s software robots disseminate testing results in minutes, instead of a healthcare worker having to analyze results. By saving nurses three hours per day (nearly 1,000 hours per year), they can instead focus on preparing for and nursing patients who have contracted COVID-19. To help further support customers through the pandemic, UiPath is offering all healthcare organizations free RPA software to accelerate critical processes and free up strapped employees.
What was the funding process like?
We’re really excited about our new investors, and humbled that some investors have been with us since the beginning. We believe this is the team to steer our continued growth and help us scale our business and the value of automation globally.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
As we prepare the business for the next step, we have made it a priority to find investment partners who have provided the help and support we need long-term as we continue on our upward trajectory.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We are not just growing a company; we’re creating a market around hyperautomation. Our investors know that and see promise in the RPA industry and us as the leaders. We’re looking to build out our platform in a deliberate and intentional way that brings the most value for our customers.
We are not just growing a company; we’re creating a market around hyperautomation. Our investors know that and see promise in the RPA industry and us as the leaders.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months, we’re committed to accelerating our platform ambitions to meet mounting customer demands and scale to drive mass adoption of automation. We’re going to advance our market-leading platform and continue to deepen investments in AI-powered innovation and expanded cloud offerings.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you have a strong business model with agile and resilient operations, you will be set up well to cope with the challenges of today’s environment, whether that’s productivity, the peaks and valleys of demand, or anything else.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re looking to capitalize on our continued momentum and use this funding to take us to the next step. We have accelerated our path to profitability and believe we are in a better position to file our IPO in the next year as long as the market conditions are favorable.
What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC
These days my favorite outdoor spot is sitting on the patio enjoying meals with my family every opportunity I get – which is often!
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