UiPath, a red-hot player in the robotic process automation space, is ramping up their channel business to accelerate the momentum that has taken them from $1 million to $100M in annual recurring revenue in less than 21 months, and are also announcing a new channel program.
This afternoon, at their #UiPath Partner Forward conference in Miami, robotic process automation [RPA] vendor UiPath has announced their investment of $20 million in two new partner-focused funds, one directed at venture partners, and one at partner go-to-market and enablement activities. The conference is being attended by approximately 400 partners from across the Americas.
“Our direct business is an important part of our go-to-market strategy, but we are relying more and more on our partner channel of global and regional systems integrators, and solution providers,” said Janette Hausler, VP of Global Partner Marketing at UiPath. “Our big announcement at the event is our new investments in two partner focused funds.”
The UiPath Venture Innovation Fund provides monies to invest in in AI-focused partner startups with a focus in machine learning, business process management, process mining and Intelligence, and chatbots, and who want to simplify and speed up their integration with UiPath. The UiPath Partner Acceleration Fund supports go-to-market and enablement activities that will accelerate enterprise-wide RPA adoption.
“The difference is in what the funds are used for, with one designed around technology integrations and the other around go-to-market activities,” Hausler said. “Any UiPath partner can request funding from these programs.” The $20 million is to support the first year of the funds’ operations.
The new partner funding is accompanied by the launch of new Technology and Business partner programs, with a new partner portal, that enables deal registration and provides access to marketing, sales and technical assets and tools.
“The partner program element consists of things that the channel overall views as table stakes,” Hausler said. “However, it’s important to recognize that they are something new in the RPA space. As we expand our channel business, we are trying to be as transparent and open as possible.”
The new moves come on the heels of UiPath announcing three weeks ago that they have secured $225M in Series C funding, in a round co-led by Sequoia Capital and CapitalG, bringing their total valuation to $3 billion. UiPath now has more than 1,800 global customers, and claims six new enterprise customers per day. They project they will end 2018 with more than 1,700 employees in 16 countries, a three-fold increase in 12 months.
“Robotic process automation software automates manual, time-consuming work – things like invoicing, or onboarding new employees,” Hausler said. “We think of it as augmenting many traditional types of software like business process automation, many of which have manual processes which can be automated.”
UiPath is the most widely adopted of these new RPA platforms, which enable the rapid design and deployment of software robots. They were recently named a leader in The Forrester Wave Robotic Process Automation in Q2 2018, with the highest score in the “Current Offering” category and the highest possible score in “Market Presence.”
“There are some other companies in this space, but our main competition is companies continuing to do ‘business as usual’ and persisting in doing these tasks manually, Hausler indicated. “This is a very new technology, and both customers and partners need to learn how to use it. Thus, we are committed to democratizing RPA and making it more available broadly – not just to developers or to senior executives. We see this as something that cuts across departments – HR, sales, marketing. This is something where no coding is required, so it can easily be broadened out.”
Hausler described the RPA process as involving Studio, a design centre for workflow, the robotic automation itself, and the orchestration of that automation.
“We are educating customers and partners around this through our certification process and free UiPath Academy training programs, through the free Community Edition of our software, and our Community Forum that connects developers, customers and partners,” she stated. “It is an open and extensible platform. RPA is also important because it is a big onramp to AI [Artificial Intelligence]. It’s much easier to get leadership buy-in to an RPA project and to get it up and running than it is to do the same for an AI project.”
RPA technology started in the enterprise, and that is still UiPath’s sweet spot, but it has broader potential than that, even in the short term.
“We have been seeing increased interest from smaller enterprises and from the mid-market,” Hausler said.
Their ISV partners range from big hyperscalers like Google and Microsoft to smaller more specialized ISVs and AI startups. Their channel partners – judging by the sponsors of the Miami event – include many of the big GSIs like Deloitte, EY, Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, Genpact, IBM, Infosys, and PwC.
“We are building out a fairly large channel of skilled partners,” Hausler said. “Our enterprise customers want to know that we have fully vetted and trained them, but we want to go wide with our channel because there is just so much demand here.”