‘Be bold and humble’: Lessons from UiPath’s journey as ‘RPA’ startup goes public with $1.3B IPO

UiPath CEO Daniel Dines. (UiPath photo)

The news: UiPath had one of the largest IPOs ever for a US software company, grossing $ 1.3 billion when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. Shares rose 17% when the market opened and valued the company at $ 34 billion.

UiPath background: UiPath was founded in 2005 and is developing a technology called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). They are systems that use AI to learn and then take over routine and everyday software processes and business operations from human employees.

The company’s revenue rose 81% to $ 607.6 million last year, while losses decreased from $ 519.9 million in 2019 to $ 92.4 million. UiPath had nearly 8,000 customers as of January 31, including 61% of the Fortune Global 500. The company raised nearly $ 2 billion from private donors, including a $ 750 million Series F round in February.

This is what happens when humans and robots work in sync to change the future of work. We’re so proud to ring the bell today and officially join the @ NYSE family – https://t.co/TCmdddD2uX. #UiPathIPO #RPA pic.twitter.com/mTVC4mstZ1

– UiPath (@UiPath) April 21, 2021

Connections in the Seattle area: UiPath employs more than 100 people in a research and development center in Bellevue, Washington, near Microsoft headquarters. UiPath CEO Daniel Dines previously worked at Microsoft for almost five years before launching UiPath.

Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group is an investor in UiPath after participating in a Series C round in 2018. At that time, Madrona CEO S. “Soma” Somasegar, the former head of Microsoft’s development department, joined the company’s board of directors.

In a blog post, Somasegar explained the reasons Madrona invested – customer focus; secular trends such as software automation; etc. – and also shared his lessons from the UiPath trip. From the post:

  • From day one, UiPath took a bold approach to having an international presence – for its team and customer base. That was a fantastic USP for UiPath.
  • UiPath took a “land grab” approach to gain both share and market share when they saw the opportunity to create and lead a new category.
  • UiPath had an incredible appetite for growth and scale. At some point this became a problem as the culture “grows at all costs” and Daniel and his leadership team did a great job changing that to “grow financially responsibly”.
  • UiPath had a founder-led culture that was a great combination of confidence and humility. “Be brave and humble” is something Daniel mentioned hundreds of times over the past few years.

June 27, 2021