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Redwood Software, a provider of cloud-based business and IT process automation solutions, today announced a €315 million (~$379.97 million) strategic investment from growth equity firm Turn River Capital. Redwood says the funds — which represent its first external financing — will be put toward accelerating product development as it looks to grow its customer base.
Intelligent process automation and robotic process automation (RPA) — technology that automates monotonous, repetitive chores traditionally performed by human workers — is big business. Forrester estimates that intelligent process automation and other AI subfields created jobs for 40% of companies in 2019 and that a tenth of startups now employ more digital workers than human ones. According to a McKinsey survey, at least a third of activities could be automated in about 60% of occupations. And in its recent Trends in Workflow Automation report, Salesforce found that 95% of IT leaders are prioritizing workflow automation, with 70% seeing the equivalent of more than four hours of savings per employee each week.
Founded in 1993, Netherlands-based Redwood aims to orchestrate and automate business processes across hybrid IT environments. The company claims it serves over 3,000 enterprise customers in over 150 countries — including Coca-Cola, GM, Guess, Wells Fargo, UBS, Mercedes-Benz, Airbus, Siemens, and Heineken.
“Redwood initially started out in the application space building Oracle applications,” founder and CEO Tijl Vuyk told VentureBeat via email. “Over time, as we saw an increased need from our customers to automate many of the manual processes, we pivoted to automate everything we could. If there is a process where someone has to complete an activity twice, we find a way to automate as much of the activity as possible, all without leaving customers with a huge spend on services and maintenance.”
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Redwood offers a catalog of tasks that piece together different dependent jobs in a workflow. To mimic existing workflows, the platform analyzes table structures in enterprise resource planning systems, other internal data, and metadata. With Redwood, customers can link and assemble processes using an orchestration engine that stitches the processes together. The platform can combine elements automatically or with human approvals and review cycles when required.
Redwood can write results to and from enterprise systems, as well as cloning and editing predefined workflows. It can also kickstart workflows without requiring human intervention and allow them continue until complete, while dashboards track tasks, activities, and bottlenecks in logs that retain auditability at a process level.
“Redwood’s business process automation platform is an innovation leader in the workload automation market, where we are still the only company to provide a true cloud-based automation solution purpose-built for enterprise customers. We know that shifting costly IT infrastructure to the cloud is a CEO-level directive over the next five years, and we are proud to support our current and future customers during this crucial transition period,” Vuyk said. “Due to the breadth of our technology portfolio, which spans workload automation, finance automation, and enterprise reporting, we are seeing more and more customers coming to Redwood in search of robotic process automation alternatives, which can provide the scale and flexibility that they demand.”
Beyond process automation, Redwood offers services that handle cloud computing tasks like application transfer and file encryption. The platform can move, copy, and manage files between clouds, even where sources and destination protocols don’t align. Redwood can also automatically segment and rejoin large files for fast downloads over multiple connections. And the platform can resume or restart transfers that fail due to timeouts or network issues.
Redwood is also capable of starting common OS, database, virtualization, container, and application maintenance tasks when the platform detects degraded performance. Developers get proactive notifications about anomalies and delays in processes they choose to track. On the development side, customers can publish automated processes in Redwood as interactive service endpoints for consumption by third-party services. They’re also afforded access to real-time data feeds, reporting, and analytics tools
Redwood’s reporting product, a separate leg of the business, facilitates the evaluation of documents by allowing customers to add feedback, deliver reports, and combine data from multiple disparate sources. For example, health care providers can use it to gather, archive, and distribute data from information systems used by hospitals, physician networks, and health management organizations.
“2020 was a year of significant changes and highlighted how the right tools can insulate businesses from hazards. As workers shifted from the office to their homes, existing processes that were inefficient or siloed and dependent on human intervention for continuity were exposed,” Vuyk said. “Going remote revealed how much can be done and gained through distributed and cloud platforms. As company budgets are unlikely to increase in 2021 and cost-reduction remains a significant driver of IT initiatives, a modern automation platform can resolve business inefficiencies, provide wide integration support, help evaluate metrics to optimize the customer experience, and more in a safe and secure fashion. Our value-based pricing model proved successful in 2020.”
Redwood, which has roughly 180 employees across the U.S., Netherlands, U.K., Germany, Switzerland, and Asia Pacific, has a number of competitors in a global intelligent process automation market that’s estimated to be worth $15.8 billion by 2025, according to KBV Research. Automation Anywhere last secured a $290 million investment from SoftBank at a $6.8 billion valuation. Within a span of months, Blue Prism raised over $120 million, Kryon $40 million, and FortressIQ $30 million. Tech giants have also made forays into the field, including Microsoft, which acquired RPA startup Softomotive, and IBM, which purchased WDG Automation. And in recent months, legacy providers like WorkFusion have managed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their automation products.
But the number of industries process automation touches continues to grow, with a Deloitte report predicting the technology will achieve “near universal adoption” within five years. According to the same report, 78% of organizations that have already implemented RPA — which see an average payback period of around 9 to 12 months — expect to “significantly” increase their investment in the technology over the next three years. And Gartner estimates that organizations can lower operational costs 30% by combining automation technologies like RPA with redesigned operational processes by 2024.
One Redwood customer, Siemens, had roughly 1,000 annual, quarterly, and monthly financial statement reporting tasks to complete, including 300 undocumented tasks. Now, 97% of Siemens’ critical processes run automatically, and the number of tasks has been reduced to 30, according to Vuyk.
“We are excited for the possibilities this investment brings and the new ways we will be able to serve our customers. Automation is a business imperative, and that is a fact,” Vuyk added. “We’re unique in that we’re marrying automation with low-code tools so enterprises can automate without extreme overhead or overhauling their IT department. This investment will give us the resources to meet the needs of IT organizations and business leaders alike.”
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