Robotic process automation, or RPA as it is usually abbreviated, isn’t the sexiest term to emerge from the technology industry, but it is fast becoming a core component of companies’ push to optimize their workflows through machine learning. And yes, by optimize, we mean automate.
Against that backdrop, Softomotive is the latest in a succession of RPA startups to raise significant funds to get their tools into enterprises around the world.
The startup today announced it has raised $25 million in a series A round of funding from London-based Grafton Capital, and as part of the investment Softomotive is upping sticks and moving its HQ from Athens, Greece to the U.K. capital.
The business of automation
RPA essentially involves installing software on company computers. This software sits on top of a company’s own applications, whether that be accounting or customer relationship management software, and then observes what an employee does at the user interface level — this could be manually entering financial data, for example. The RPA learns and repeats what the human does, and can continue to do so 24/7 without having to be fed or receive an overtime bonus. The underlying benefit is that it should improve productivity and efficiency, as it reduces human errors due to fatigue.
Founded in 2005, Softomotive now claims 7,000 clients around the world, including Vodafone, Intel, KPMG, Siemens, and IBM. And with $25 million in the bank — its first external capital raise — it plans to continue to push out its automation bots globally.
“With this injection of growth capital, and with London as its new base, Softomotive will expand its global footprint and accelerate the development of its product roadmap, with a special emphasis on desktop automation and RPA for medium-sized enterprises,” said Softomotive cofounder and CEO Marios Stavropoulos.
This raise comes just a week after RPA company UiPath raised $225 million from Alphabet’s VC arm CapitalG, Sequoia, and Accel at a $3 billion valuation, while Automation Anywhere recently closed a $250 million round of funding.
RPA companies, it seems, are hot — a recent study suggested the RPA market could grow at 36.2 percent CAGR until 2023 and become an $8.6 billion industry.
“We have spent the last months talking to industry leading enterprises in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, all of whom have made rigorous assessments and selected Softomotive’s products ahead of other RPA leaders,” added Grafton Capital’s Oliver Thomas, who will also now join Softomotive’s board of directors.