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Following UiPath's $153 million raise, what is the future for RPA?

As UiPath confirms it has raised $153 million in a Series B round valuing the company at $1.1 billion - more than ten-fold the company’s valuation when it last raised funding, in April of last year - Henry Alty discusses the alignment of market conditions enabling businesses like this to flourish.

The staggering growth of UiPath and its achievement of hallowed unicorn status signals the next stage of maturity - and the next wave of investments - in the robotic process automation (RPA) market.

The company, via its automation of back-office tasks and rules-based operations, is one of a number offering attractive RPA software for a huge enterprise market demanding efficiency, cost reduction and competitiveness. UiPath has capitalised on this perfect alignment of technology and business readiness.

UiPath’s rapid growth story – including Google backing – legitimises RPA as Silicon Valley-grade innovation, capable of transforming virtually all industries, and applicable at scale. In the next two years we would expect to see a surge of investments in the RPA space, as competing players and keen backers seek to replicate this success.

This is the start of a much bigger conversation about the future of work and the lucrative opportunities this new climate presents. We’ve seen returns on approaches like shared services, centralisation of work and low-cost labour gradually plateau; RPA promises the next evolution of cost savings for businesses but more importantly auditable, consistently performed processes at scale, which is a game changer.

Yet, digital transformation requires appropriate investment supported by the right implementation partners. The early promise of quick-and-easy turnaround of RPA projects has proven more challenging, and instead businesses have realised that RPA tech is a complex craft, and that partnerships are central to success. The growth of specialist RPA consultancy companies, like Symphony Ventures, illustrates this shift in outlook, with enterprises increasingly turning to partners with the experience and focused understanding of how to wield the best RPA tools, for the best applications to deliver the best outcomes.

 

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