UiPath: an RPA ‘unicorn’ is born

Following rumour reported on TechCrunch earlier this week, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology specialist UiPath has formally announced a Series B funding round that now values the company at over $1 bn. What does it mean?

As I’ve noted before, UiPath has in recent months marked itself out as a company that’s designed to scale, and scale fast – and the team has managed to execute in line with that design, growing recurring revenue 800% in 2017, using earlier venture funding of $30m to fuel its growth. The company’s pure platform model, combined with open, free training, has also been a big contributor here.

Now, the company’s taken a second – huge – round of funding totalling $153m, which values it at around $1.1 billion. The round is led by the same funds that backed it first time around, but new funders – notably including Google’s CapitalG – have also come on board.

UiPath will use this funding to continue business expansion, but also to grow its product line and capabilities. I wouldn’t be surprised to see UiPath pitching much more of a broad ‘digitising operations’ business automation proposition over the coming months and years, as it acquires complementary technologies and businesses and enhances its existing platform with more ‘AI’-focused capabilities.

Beyond the implications of this for UiPath, what does this new UiPath funding round mean?

  • Obviously, for UiPath customers, it will underscore UiPath’s sustainability and increase buyers’ confidence that the company is a safe bet.
  • For UiPath’s competitors, it should make them nervous – UiPath now has the resources to push further, faster and continue to commoditise core RPA technology. Every RPA vendor has some kind of ‘beyond RPA’ vision, but the imperative to make concrete steps that make sense in today’s market just got a lot more urgent.
  • For the marketplace at large – this is another signal that highlights how RPA in today’s sense (programmed agents strictly executing tasks by simulating users’ interactions with systems) is one tool in a larger automation toolbox; and that increasingly, technology providers will assemble portfolios of tools that help their customers employ blended automation strategies.

In UiPath, an RPA unicorn is born. If you were in doubt about the potential value of RPA and automation more broadly, now might be the time to re-evaluate…