How Automation Anywhere joined the billion-dollar-plus club

Ankur Kothari, chief revenue officer of robotic process automation (RPA) platform Automation Anywhere, still remembers the Sunday night in 2003 when he and his cofounders Neeti Mehta Shukla, Mihir Shukla and Rushabh Parmani had just uploaded their first product. They went out to celebrate over a dinner. 
 
When they came back a few hours later, they had already landed a customer from Australia. “We had built a product which was downloadable. We thought, we will be our first buyer. It was at the end of a Sunday, we thought no one would be working, but we forgot Australia would be,” said Kothari. Since then there has been no stopping the newly-minted unicorn (a term for private tech companies valued over $1 billion) which has more than 1,100 enterprise customers including technology giants Google, Cisco and Siemens.
 
Earlier this week, Automation Anywhere said it raised $250 million in what it called a series-A round which valued it at $1.8 billion. The investment was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Goldman Sachs Growth Equity with participation from General Atlantic and World Innovation Lab (WiL).
 
Interestingly, none of the founders are from IITs or top Ivy League colleges, unlike most unicorns. While Kothari and Parmani studied computer science at University of Wisconsin-Madison in the late 1990s, CEO Mihir Shukla studied at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda and then Michigan State University. 
 
Neeti Shukla studied marketing at Bond University in Australia. Parmani and Kothari have worked in Siebel Systems (acquired by Oracle), while Neeti Shukla has worked at Intuit and Mihir Shukla has worked across organisations like Netscape and Infoseek. The first few years were spent in acquiring initial customers, getting the product right and working with partners and customers to build a process. But for Kothari, the real growth in the RPA sector began right after the recession in 2008, when it became evident that automation of human intensive processes was the way forward. RPA, basically, uses computer software to process and automate routine, standardised tasks in an organisation.
 
“In the past seven to eight years, we have been growing over 100% YoY. We believe that it has hit an inflection point in the past year or so,” said Kothari. Automation Anywhere claims is has a 98% client retention rate.
 
While the company has been working out of the US, India is a crucial cog in the wheel. It is a ‘codevelopment’ headquarters with almost 400 employees, mainly in Vadodara and also in Bengaluru and Mumbai. That is almost half of its entire 800 employees.
 
For Automation Anywhere, the next big bet is its Bot Store, which is an online marketplace for offthe-shelf, plug and play software bots. The store has prebuilt bots and also bots from strategic partners EY, Genpact and others. The bots can be snapped together like LEGO blocks to automate complex business processes like order fulfillment, mortgage processing, logistics management, compliance auditing and customer churn prediction.
 
With this large round of funding, Automation Anywhere is looking to deepen its customer engagements in North America, Latin America, India, Europe, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and plans to deploy its technology in additional geographies. The company will also work on bettering its cognitive technology capabilities. According to an Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation Primer report by Avendus, the IT RPA market revenue worldwide will be $4.9 billion in 2020 while it was $ 100 million in 2012. The report also adds that North America accounts for 54% of the RPA buyers, by geography, and large enterprises, unsurprisingly, account for 69% of buyers by size.
Shoot

Trending News

BigBasket eyes 40% revenue from private labels next fiscal

Flipkart appoints Smriti Singh as chief human resources officer

CitiusTech eyes $500M revenue in five years

China's JD.com feels pressure as sales of big ticket items slow down

E-pharmacies divided over their legal status

CapitalG’s India head Kaushik Anand quits, will join A91 Partners

Infosys completes JV formation with Temasek

With Walmart in driver's seat, Flipkart set to speed up hiring

Mumbai: Now, Uber fare to factor in fuel rate fluctuation

Amazon, Flipkart under ED probe for alleged violation of FDI norms

Paytm sets up wholesale entity for ecomm business like rivals

Uber posts $1Bn loss in quarter as growth in bookings slows

Infosys to open Texas hub, hire 500 Americans by 2020

Swiggy's $300M secondary share sale to be the fastest liquidity event for growth-stage investors

Over half of billion-dollar startups in US are founded by immigrants

Apple to tighten e-commerce play in India post Amazon deal

Amazon Wholesale's FY18 revenue up 73% due to B2B focus

Twitter cuts suspect users from follower counts again

Payments majors Visa, Mastercard and American Express may be taxed on India income

IRCTC wakes up after 2 years to fix its security bug

Alibaba's on-demand online services unit raises $4Bn, now valued at $30Bn: Sources

Twitter is looking to take the conversation to Bharat next

Bharat going digital for payments

Reserve Bank of India plans payments watchdog

Apple not in settlement talks 'at any level' with Qualcomm: Report

Payment cos witness growing adoption of digital gold during festival season

Meesho raises $50M from DST, Shunwei, RPS Ventures

BMTC will soon allow commuters to buy tickets using digital wallets

Flipkart, Amazon India register significant user base growth during the festive month

Rural e-commerce market a $10b-$12b opportunity in the next four years

Amazon goes shopping for Future Retail, to buy 9.5% stake

Walmart’s veggie-tracking technology: Use Blockchain

India's oldest cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay shuts down

Apple's growth in India is becoming a challenge: Tim Cook

Google India tax row: $2 billion remittance in 5 years may add to tech giants load

Want WhatsApp to cooperate with law enforcement agencies: RS Prasad

Flipkart acquisition won’t hit Walmart India plans

Twitter India earnings fall 14% in 2017-18

Alibaba to help manufacturers solve future problems with technology: Jack Ma

Ola likely to hit $5.5Bn valuation with Steadview's $100M investment

Flipkart India losses widen to Rs 2,063.8 crore in FY18

Google to give away USD 25 million to fund humane AI projects

Swiggy FY18 revenues surge 232% to Rs 442 Cr, inches closer to Zomato

Paytm's losses go up 270% to Rs 3,393 Cr driven by e-tail business

Flipkart told to stop selling products under MarQ private label

Once considered as rivals, Ola and Uber could now be saviour of autorickshaws

HCL Tech to hire nearly 30,000 people, applies for 640 H-1B visas

Zensar Technologies Q2 profit up 49% at Rs 93 crore

Facebook beyond Facebook? Instagram, Messenger & WhatsApp step up

Paytm Mall expects fashion, grocery to drive its growth

HDFC Bank Q2 net profit climbs 21% to Rs 5,005 crore on robust core income

Zomato, Swiggy and UberEats double salaries of delivery staff in some cities

Funding Galore: Indian Startup Funding Of The Week

“Over $3 Bn Was Invested Across 372 Deals With 54 Mergers & Acquisitions”

E-commerce players brace for big battle over online pharma

Walmart signs 5 year Cloud tech partnership with Microsoft

Flipkart adds recharge, travel tabs

Unhappy with WhatsApp reply, Indian govt may send second notice

Cars24 closes $50M funding to fuel its expansion plans

Agritech startups Sabziwala and LivLush merge their business under new entity Kamatan

Avail Finance lands $17.2M from Matrix Partners & Ola, Freecharge and Flipkart founders

RBI suggests tax sops, self-regulation to build fintech space

Swiggy hires new CEO for its Access Service, gets new CFO

Logistics company Delhivery registers 44% increase in FY17 revenues

WeWork to acquire one of the oldest social networks, Meetup

Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's $103 billion offer

EasyRewardz gets $2 million Series-A funding

'Anemic' iPhone 8 demand drags Apple shares lower

Lending platform Lenden Club gets Rs 3.5cr in Equity Investment

On festive sales, Flipkart says 65% clients from Tier-II cities