Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

UiPath nabs $568M at a $7B valuation, becoming world’s most valuable AI startup

UiPath, a robotic process automation startup, has landed a further $568 million round of funding, reaching a $7 billion evaluation and becoming the world’s most valuable artificial intelligence (AI) startup.

The new Series D round was led by Coatue, with participation by Dragoneer, Wellington, Sands Capital and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc, as well as existing investors Accel, CapitalG and Sequoia.

UiPath was originally founded in Romania in 2005 by entrepreneurs Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca. Since then, the company established itself as one of the leaders in robotic process automation (RPA), a branch of AI that uses software robots to optimise repetitive tasks in the workplace.

Specifically, UiPath builds AI software that monitors users’ individual keystrokes as they interact with enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications, identifying repetitive patterns and recommending ways to automate them.

The firm also launched a new marketplace for its artificial intelligence tools and services last year, in the hope of reaching more potential users and expand its platform even further.

“We are at the tipping point,” Daniel Dines, UiPath’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“Business leaders everywhere are augmenting their workforces with software robots, rapidly accelerating the digital transformation of their entire business and freeing employees to spend time on more impactful work.”

“UiPath is leading this workforce revolution, driven by our core determination to democratise RPA and deliver on our vision of a robot helping every person,” he added.

The company’s current customers include Google, Japan Exchange Group (JPX), LogMeIn, McDonald’s, Uber, the US Navy and Virgin Media.

Because of this, it is perhaps not surprising that UiPath is aiming at moving into more front-office tasks. Many of these companies have customer-facing operations, full of repetitive processes that are just perfect for improving by including AI software into the assembly line.

However, the general perception of robotics in the workplace today is characterised by fears that it might take people’s jobs away.

UiPath aims at tackling this issue by making clear automation is not about replacing people, but making their job easier and more efficient through ‘robots’ and systems designed to serve this purpose.

“UiPath is enabling the critical capabilities necessary to advance how companies perform and how employees better spend their time,” said Greg Dunham, vice president at T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., in a statement.

“The industry has achieved rapid growth in such a short time, with UiPath at the head of it, largely due to the fact that RPA is becoming recognised as the paradigm shift needed to drive digital transformation through virtually every single industry in the world.”

And analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. confirmed this trend in the industry, adding that the enormous size of the latest round of funding for UiPath further validates the RPA market, which has only recently emerged as an evolution of the business process automation market.

“RPA remains smoking hot as companies are looking for any strategy to accelerate their processes,” Mueller said. “It’s good to see capital coming in to help vendors to invest further in their products and go-to-market activities. When competition ratchets up, enterprises almost always benefit from better products and services.”

Image via PXhere.

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