RPA startup Automation Anywhere nabs $300M from SoftBank at a $2.6B valuation – TechCrunch

The Robotic Process Automation (RPA) market is getting a hat trick of news this week: Automation Anywhere announced today that it has raised $ 300 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund. This funding, which valued Automation Anywhere at $ 2.6 billion based on receipts, is an expansion of the Series A that the company announced earlier this year that was valued at $ 1.8 billion. It brings the total size of the round to $ 550 million.

The news comes just a day after one of the startup’s larger competitors, UiPath, announced a $ 265 million increase on a $ 3 billion valuation; and a week after Kofax, another competitor, announced it was acquiring a division from Nuance for $ 400 million to strengthen its business.

It’s also another example of a double blow in funding. As recently as July, Automation Anywhere announced a $ 250 million increase.

This latest round adds some significant investors to the company’s cap table, particularly from the SoftBank Vision Fund, which counts a number of tech giants like Apple and Qualcomm as LPs, along with others. In particular, the fund has come under fire in recent weeks because much of its support comes from Saudi money.

The Saudi Arabian government is in the spotlight for its involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its embassy in Turkey. In addition, there have been many questions about the ethics of withdrawing funds from the Vision Fund in recent weeks, with so many questions still pending on the matter.

In an interview, Mihir Shukla, CEO and co-founder of Automation Anywhere, said that while what happened to Khashoggi was “unacceptable”, his talks with SoftBank began beforehand and the startup’s decision whether to do it with the fund.

He declined to comment at the time of signing the term sheet when asked if it was before or after the murder was published.

What attracted us to SoftBank was that Masayoshi Son “- the CEO and founder of SoftBank -” has a vision and is investing in fundamental platforms that will change the way we work and the way we travel, “said Shukla. “We share this vision.”

He also noted that SoftBank funding will “naturally” lead to more opportunities for partnering with companies in the SoftBank corporate network, which includes dozens of investments and direct ownership.

While it feels like artificial intelligence is referenced at every turn in the technology world these days, RPA is an interesting area as it’s one of the more tangible uses of it in a wide variety of organizations.

In a nutshell, it is a series of software-based “robots” that help companies automate everyday and repetitive tasks that would otherwise be performed by human workers, using AI-based technologies in areas such as computer vision and machine learning. to get the job done.

Competition between companies for pole position in this area is fierce. Automation Anywhere has 1,400 organizations as customers, they say. By comparison, UiPath has 2,100 and claims an annual revenue run rate of currently $ 150 million. Shukla declined to disclose his company’s financial information.

But given all that, the company will use the funding to purposefully grow its business ahead of its competitors.

“With this additional capital, we are able to do far more than any other provider,” said Shukla in a press release. “Not only will we continue to bring the most advanced RPA to market, we will also help bring AI to millions of people. As with the introduction of the personal computer, we see a world where every office worker collaborates with digital workers and amplifies the human contribution. Today employees need to know how to operate a PC, and soon employees need to know how to build a bot. “

Automation Anywhere claims that its bot store is the industry’s largest marketplace for bot applications developed by both it and partners to run various business processes, with 65,000 users since launching in March 2018.

June 12, 2021