Automation Anywhere CEO wants us all to have 'a bot for that'
Artificial Intelligence

Automation Anywhere CEO wants us all to have 'a bot for that'

A crude but often effective way to measure whether a vendor merits your attention is to look at its funding; not every company that is successful has enjoyed access to large sums of capital and not every well-funded company merits the wealth lavished upon it, but following the money is still a decent predictor. And, even by the crazy-money standards of Silicon Valley, Automation Anywhere has seen cash flood into its coffers.

Headquartered in San Jose, California, this zeitgeist-y firm has many of the characteristics of leading companies of the Californian vicinity. Between July and November last year it pulled in $250m and $300m respectively in a two-part Series A funding round. That's the sort of money that generates headlines and interest and, more important for the longer-term, it's fuel for doing all the things that startups in hot sectors tend to want to do: hire, build better products, grow globally and build partnerships.

The company isn't alone in attracting filthy lucre. The robotic process automation (RPA) market where Automation Anywhere plays is among the fastest-moving areas of enterprise software. Based on the premise that many rote processes can be automated with the aid of bots that can do repetitive human tasks faster and more accurately than expensive and unreliable human beings, the segment is acting as a funding magnet. UK firm Blue Prism has enjoyed a spectacular rise in value to be worth more than £1.23bn ($1.62bn) at time of writing. Another, UiPath, has collected about $448m in funding and is reportedly about to add another $400m.

So how do we separate out this triumvirate of early-market leaders? When I met him recently in London, Automation Anywhere CEO Mihir Shukla said he believes that his company's attention to artificial intelligence is a differentiator.

"It makes for a more complete digital workforce platform and we believe that's the future of RPA," he says. "RPA can only work with structured data and AI can work with unstructured data. When you combine those you can do far more than RPA alone."

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Martin Veitch

Martin Veitch is Contributing Editor for IDG Connect

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