According to Gartner, the global Robotic process automation (RPA) software market grew 63.1% in 2018 to $846 million. This was the fastest-growing segment of the global enterprise software market. Gartner expects the market to grow to $1.3 billion this year as organizations continue to meet business demands through digitization efforts.
New York-based UiPath was set up by Daniel Dines and Marius Trica in 2005 in a tiny apartment in Bucharest, Romania as DeskOver. For the next few years, UiPath continued to build automation scripts. It was not until 2012 that the RPA idea caught on. One of its customers invited UiPath and showed them how they were using its software to automate processes. For the next few years, UiPath focused on its RPA technology. By 2013, it had launched a desktop version and by 2015 an enterprise version. It also renamed itself as UiPath.
UiPath initially focused on the BPO industry. It expanded presence in India to make the Indian BPO’s slightly cheaper labor even more productive and efficient using RPA technology. Today, it has entered into tie-ups with several BPO and consulting firms to offer automation services to its clients. It boasts of a 200,000-strong developer community, and over 5M robots work in over 2,500 global enterprises. It has moved out of its Bucharest apartment to a New York city head office and also expanded its geographical footprint globally.
UiPath is venture funded and has raised over $1 billion from investors including Sands Capital Ventures, Wellington Partners, Coatue Management, Dragoneer Investment Group, CapitalG, Sequoia Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, Accel, Madrona Venture Group, and IVP (Institutional Venture Partners). Its first round was held in April 2017 when it raised $30 million at a valuation of $110 million.
It has come a long way since then. Earlier this year, it raised its $568 million in a Series D round at a post-money valuation of $7 billion, becoming one of the most valuable AI-focused Unicorns. The company plans to use the recently acquired funds to expand its focus into front-office and customer-facing areas, such as customer support and sales.
UiPath does not disclose its financials. Gartner estimates UiPath’s revenues at $114.8 million in 2018, recording an impressive 630% growth over 2017 revenues of $15.7 million. It is still not profitable, but analysts believe that it is close to profitability. UiPath is not planning an IPO soon and has tagged listing plans as part of its medium-term objectives.
UiPath’s AI and Cloud Focus
To drive the next level of growth, UiPath is focused on leveraging AI and the cloud. It is working on a new AI product called UiPath AI Fabric that is expected to be launched in the second half of the year. AI Fabric is aimed at integrating AI and RPA capabilities that have, so far, existed in silos. The service is being built to allow RPA and data science teams to work together to offer products that can instantly apply AI to any software currently being automated by RPA. It will enable organizations to deploy AI models into an RPA workflow, analyze model performance and impact with advanced model management and monitoring, and close the RPA/AI data feedback loop to enable continuous improvement of AI models over time.
In June this year, UiPath also announced the public preview of its Enterprise Cloud Platform. The company believes that whether an organization is focused on cloud, on-premise, or hybrid offerings, it should be able to leverage RPA capabilities. To cater to that vision, it has been working on its SaaS solution that will allow organizations to start automating instantly. Organizations will be able to scale by easily moving from automating one process to hundreds of processes with a few clicks and it will also simplify the IT environment by allowing organizations to focus on their business and leave the IT and updates to UiPath.
The RPA space is a crowded market with a lot of competition. According to Gartner, UiPath is a leader in the field. It estimates that in 2018, UiPath accounted for 13.6% of the global RPA software market share. But rivals like Automation Anywhere are catching up. Automation Anywhere was a close runner-up last year with 12.8% market share, followed by Blue Prism at 8.4%. Together, the top five vendors in the space account for nearly 47% of the market share.
Like UiPath, Automation Anywhere also believes in building a digital workforce by leveraging RPA capabilities. It is integrating RPA with cognitive and analytics to hand over mundane work from humans to bots. It has also delivered strong success in multiple sectors and boasts of having the biggest Bot Store with over 65,000 users.