UiPath’s quiet growth path

It’s not one of the most widely-known vendors in the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) space, but UiPath is quietly accelerating, collecting customers at an impressive rate.

UiPath has for some time run a business model that’s optimised for scaling: aggressive pricing and generous free options, and focusing exclusively on partners for implementation (you can find out more about the company’s model and products in detail in our previous in-depth report).

I sat down with Chief Evangelist Guy Kirkwood a couple of weeks ago to get an update on UiPath’s business since we produced that report last year.

Here are some of the headlines:

  • The company now has around 250 people, in 12 countries.
  • It has around 300 customers (up from around 145 a year ago).
  • It raised $30m in a series A round of VC funding (from Accel Partners).
  • It’s forecasting around $30m in revenue for 2017, and around $100m in 2018.

Mirroring the pattern of RPA adoption in general, around 80% of UiPath’s customers are over $1bn in annual revenue; however from an industry perspective UiPath has pushed further – just under half are in financial services, banking or insurance industries, with healthcare/pharmaceuticals, retail, media and telecoms and manufacturing also well-represented.

Again in line with its aggressive-scale-tuned business model, this year UiPath has created a completely free, open online training platform and curriculum – the UiPath RPA Academy. Since the platform was launched, it’s seen nearly 20,000 people take the foundation curriculum (with around over 4,000 completing so far). Unsurprisingly given UiPath’s business model, the vast majority of people completing UiPath’s online courses are consultants; as far as I can tell, only about 5% come from UiPath’s customer organisations themselves.

Where’s it going next? Well, like all the other RPA technology vendors, UiPath is pushing an “Intelligent RPA” agenda – aiming to partner with analytics, document capture and voice/text interaction technology providers among others to enable customers to augment more and more of the tasks carried out by contact centre / customer administration staff (for example). Of course, as with all the other RPA vendors’ visions this does open up new competitive fronts, as technology platform vendors of all kinds (from IBM to Salesforce, SAP and beyond) seek to capture the technology opportunities related to new AI-powered interactions and channels. How many potential customers will want to get interaction automation technologies from RPA vendors? I suspect this will turn out to be an uphill struggle.

Nevertheless, UiPath’s progress this year shows that right now, it has a compelling proposition and the partners to support it.