UiPath has closed a $750m funding round at a post-money valuation of $35bn, making the fast-growing robotic process automation (RPA) platform by far the largest European private tech company just months ahead of a planned initial public offering.
The round was led by Alkeon Capital and Coatue, according to a statement on Monday. Altimeter Capital Management, Dragoneer, IVP, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management and funds advised by T. Rowe Price also participated.
The fundraise represents an enormous jump in the company's valuation compared to the last round in July 2019, where the company raised $225m at a $10.2bn valuation. It shows how the company is on track for a mega public listing later this year in the US after filing for a listing in December.
Founded in Romania, UiPath is a key player in the RPA industry, which uses software robots to automate repetitive back-office tasks. The company was established in 2015, on the foundations of DeskOver, a 10-year old software outsourcing company started by UiPath cofounders Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca.
The team started building little robots to make office work easier. “Four years ago we were 10 people in a small apartment. All we had was the technology, and no idea how to market it,” Dines told Sifted in an interview in 2019. “We were geeks, so we built technology for the sake of technology.”
In recent years growth for the entire sector has been breathtaking, lifting UiPath as well as its main rivals Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere. According to research and advisory firm Gartner, RPA software revenue grew 63.1% in 2018, to reach $846m, making it the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market.
Gartner said back then that RPA software revenue was expected to reach $1.3bn in 2019, with the top five RPA vendors controlling 47% of the market. And, with a 13.6% marketshare, UiPath was leading the pack. Dines estimated in August 2019 that the sector was worth around $1.8bn just in software licences. “It’s probably going to double in the next couple of years. It grows about 60% year over year, which is crazy,” he said.
While RPA adoption generally starts in financial services and, within companies, in finance and accounting — automating repetitive tasks like invoicing, monthly expenses and timesheet tasks — the company says that there are few places the technology can’t go, and few aspects of the workplace that can’t be touched.
“When you look at the typical job of an employee, you will see that there are a series of activities that are completely dull and repetitive, they can be automated,” said Dines. “Even more cognitive activities can be automated, like filtering emails based on different topics or subjects. We can build machine learning models that will understand documents, like invoices and purchase orders.”
And while in the past there was a sense that people and companies weren’t quite ready for machines to take over tasks done by white-collar workers, this is rapidly changing, says the company. “There is no skepticism anymore,” Boris Krumrey, chief robotics officer at UiPath, told Sifted back in 2019. “Maybe in 2015, but right now we’re actually seeing customers not asking or questioning whether it works, whether they get benefits, they’re just trying to figure out how best to apply it.”