Sramana Mitra: What’s been UiPath’s strategy? Have they set up in Silicon Valley very early on? What is their geographical location and headquarters? How was the company’s run from a scaling perspective?
Ondrej Bartos: The truth is that they started expanding fairly early on. They started with two territories. One is the US. It’s not the Silicon Valley but New York. It’s the East Coast. For a company like UiPath, it may make sense because they focus on the big Fortune 500 companies as potential customers. The East Coast is a good option.
Sramana Mitra: Well, a lot of European companies prefer to set up their US headquarters in New York or Boston. Part of it is just the time zone and the accessibility. I think I’ve seen a lot of European companies that have chosen New York or Boston over Silicon Valley as their US headquarter.
Ondrej Bartos: Three hours is 180 minutes. That’s a lot. Yes. I agree that the East Coast is something to consider. But I always tell my founders that it really mostly depends on the type of business they’re in. It, very much, depends on where the target customers are and where the potential partners are and so forth. In our portfolio, there’re actually more companies that move further west all the way to the Silicon Valley than to the East Coast. We have a couple of East Coast companies as well but Silicon Valley still wins. That’s the melting pot. That’s where many of the potential partners, customers, and potential acquirers are.
Sramana Mitra: So you’re pushing to set up in Silicon Valley or equivalent early on and not leaving until later.
Ondrej Bartos: Yes, I think so, especially if you want to grow fast. As we learned, the US is just a totally different league in terms of this speed of growth that you can achieve. There are even companies that we don’t consider as successful. One of the reasons they weren’t as successful as they could be was that they moved to the US too late or they actually failed to move to the US.
In the case of UiPath, we set up in India. One of the reasons was that, as I said, one of the early verticals we were going after was BPO. There’re a lot of BPO businesses in India. Also, we felt like it could be a good idea to start another developer engineering center outside of Romania. At this point, it’s still Romania with most of the people working for UiPath. I believe it’s now more than 500 people in Romania and in Bucharest. Then the second biggest center of gravity is the US with most of the sales people. The third one would be India.
Sramana Mitra: What trends do you see in the BPO industry with UiPath? The case for the Indian BPO industry was cheap labor. So now are you saying that you’re bringing in software to replace the cheap labor?
Ondrej Bartos: What I’m saying is that we’re bringing software to make the slightly cheaper labor even more productive and efficient. With RPA, it’s not necessarily replacing the people, but we’re empowering the people. We’re giving the people a chance to work on a lot more interesting and useful stuff than they used to.