Factories and warehouses aren’t the only beneficiaries of the dissemination of robotics and artificial intelligence. Yesterday, UiPath announced that it had closed on Series C funding of $225 million, marking rapid growth of both the New York-based company and the business process or robotic process automation space.
The global market for robotic process automation (RPA) is one of the hottest for enterprise software. Forrester Research Inc. projects that the RPA market will reach $2.9 billion by 2021.
Similarly, Grand View Research has predicted a compound annual growth rate of 60.5%, from $199.1 million in 2016. It noted that small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) are major adopters of RPA, as well as organizations in telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing.
UiPath rides RPA wave
UiPath said that RPA can help guarantee a positive customer experience, business productivity, and regulatory compliance. It described its software robots as freeing up humans from routine work for creative and analytical tasks rather than replacing jobs with automation.
“We are enabling a future where employees at every organization are empowered to automate tedious and time-consuming work, enabling them to focus on creative, challenging problems,” stated Daniel Dines, co-founder and CEO of UiPath. “UiPath is driven by the incredible potential for our platform to be the gateway to transform our customers’ digital business operations with machine learning and AI.”
Sequoia Capital joined Alphabet’s CapitalG in leading UiPath‘s latest round of funding. Other investors include Accel, CapitalG, Credo Ventures, Earlybird’s Digital East Fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and Seedcamp.
“Daniel and his team have built a technology platform that will drive efficiencies and deliver tangible ROI for businesses,” said Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia.
UiPath boasted that its valuation is now $3 billion, after raising $140 million in Series A in April 2017 and $153 million in March 2018.
In July, competitor Automation Anywhere reached a valuation of $1.8 billion, and Blue Prism’s value has risen nearly 30 times since it was listed in March 2016, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Automation Anywhere today announced a partnership with Celonis to combine their RPA and process mining technologies for digital business transformation.
This past summer, UiPath said that it had grown 238% in the first half of the year, growing from $1 million to more than $100 million in annual recurring revenue. The company has more than 1,800 customers and more than 200,000 users worldwide.
Organizations using UiPath’s robotic process automation include the American Red Cross, BMW Group, and Fujifilm. UiPath also offers free training programs and a community forum to connect more than 250,000 developers, customers, and partners.
UiPath said it plans to use its latest funding for product development, adding partnerships for complementary AI-enabled systems, and mergers and acquisitions. It expects to have 1,700 employees by year’s end.
U.S. government turns to UiPath
Government agencies using UiPath’s RPA include the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
UiPath and Booz Allen Hamilton recently partnered to help federal agencies improve process efficiencies with RPA. The partnership combines UiPath’s RPA platform with Booz Allen Hamilton’s management and IT consulting capabilities.
Interest in developing and using AI has been growing within the U.S. government, said Jonathan Padgett, vice president for the U.S. public sector at UiPath.
“The U.S. public sector has been incredibly enthusiastic about RPA,” he said. “We are of course very bullish on how RPA and other AI technologies can enable better ways of working, and we are excited to have Booz Allen Hamilton and so many forward-thinking federal agencies share in our vision.”
White House AI committee promotes collaboration
This summer, the White House announced a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence.
“As artificial intelligence transforms everything from agriculture to manufacturing to transportation, the potential for AI remains breathtaking,” said Michael Kratsios, deputy CTO at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “But we cannot be passive. To realize the full potential of AI for the American people, it will require the combined efforts of industry, academia, and government.”
The committee’s mission is to “improve the coordination of federal efforts related to AI to ensure continued U.S. leadership in this field.” It said it will operate within the technology committee at the National Science and Technology Council and will be made up of “the most senior” research and development officials from across the federal government.
“To a certain degree, job displacement is inevitable,” Kratsios added. “But we can’t sit idle, hoping eventually the market will sort it out. We must do what Americans have always done — adapt.”
UiPath helps the VA
According to Padgett, the partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton helps solidify an ecosystem that UiPath has been establishing to serve government accounts. The earliest initial traction is in healthcare, particularly with Veterans Administration claims processing, he said.
With RPA handling claims processing, employees are free to perform higher-value work, rather than mundane back-office tasks. The result is not only a more efficient system that can process claims much faster than humans, but also happier employers, Padgett said.
“This technology has the potential to drastically improve the ways we work, from enhancing employee operations to improving user experiences,” stated Brett Fraser, director of automation at Booz Allen Hamilton. “We are proud to partner with one of the RPA market leaders to usher in a new work paradigm and ultimately deliver the experiences our citizens deserve.”
“The early indications are very promising” about continued growth in the government sector, said Padgett. “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg. There is a growing awareness [in government] about the benefits of RPA. Different agencies are looking at how RPA will have a role in their automation roadmap.”