Series-B round props Automation Anywhere's valuation three-fold to $6.8 bn

Salesforce Ventures leads $290 mn funding with participation from SoftBank, Goldman Sachs. Firm plans to double India headcount to 1,900 in next few years

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Automation Anywhere, a robotic process automation (RPA) and chatbot company founded by four Indian entrepreneurs has seen its valuation jumping by close to three-fold just within a year with the company raising its $290 million in series B funding led by Salesforce Ventures and participated by SoftBank and Goldman Sachs at a valuation of $6.8 billion. In November last year, the San Jose, California-based company had raised $300 million from SoftBank Vision Fund, valuing the RPA firm at $2.6 billion.

Automation Anywhere was founded by Ankur Kothari, Mihir Shukla, Neeti Mehta, and Rushabh Parmani in 2003 and provides its technology to customers such as Australia Post, medical device maker Boston Scientific and retail giant Tesco.

The new capital will help Automation Anywhere accelerate its vision to empower customers to automate end-to-end business processes, bridging the gap between the front and back office with its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automation platform. In addition, the funding will advance the company’s focus on improving human-to-bot collaboration through attended automation, resulting in enhanced customer experiences and increased employee productivity.

“Never before has there been such a transformative shift in the way we work, with artificially intelligent software bots changing how people, processes and technology interact for productivity gains,” said Shukla, CEO and co-founder, Automation Anywhere. “This new funding reinforces the promise of the RPA category and empowers our customers to achieve greater business agility and increased efficiencies by automating end-to-end business processes – bridging the gap between the front and back office.”

The company has almost 950 out of its global workforce of 2,800 in India, which is among its top five markets worldwide. “We would almost double our headcount in India (reaching 1,900 people) in the next few years,” said Milan Sheth, EVP IMEA (India, the Middle East and Africa) region, Automation Anywhere. “We are the Google in the making in our category.”

Automation Anywhere competes with RPA software company, UiPath, which in April this year closed its Series D investment round raising $568 million at a post-money valuation of $7 billion from investors such as Coatue, Dragoneer, Wellington, Sands Capital, and CapitalG, the private equity firm under Alphabet Inc. But it laid off hundreds of employees just months after raising that money. “In that context, all the investors backing us are basically backing the leader. We are the absolute leader in this market,” said Sheth.

The firm said it has launched its Automation Anywhere Salesforce Connector on Salesforce AppExchange, the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace, bringing its intelligent automation platform to Salesforce global users through pre-built software bots. This will, for example, empower a customer service agent to get help from an attended RPA bot during a live customer call, improving both the agent’s productivity and the customer experience.

“Automation Anywhere makes it easier for Salesforce customers to automate repetitive, manual tasks and focus on what matters most—the customer,” said Bill Patterson, executive vice president and general manager, Salesforce Service Cloud. “We’re excited to extend our partnership with Automation Anywhere to help more customers automate their end-to-end business processes and accelerate their digital transformation journeys.”

In an interview with Business Standard, Automation Anywhere co-founder and chief revenue officer Ankur Kothari had said the company was trying to create a bot economy. He said in the bot store, users and partners are creating a lot of reusable bots almost like an app store where they can download the app and plug and play. “We are adding more and more AI, machine learning and cognitive capabilities,” Kothari had said.