Proving that workflow automation is a sturdy sector, AirSlate, which supplies no-code instruments for automating enterprise processes, at this time introduced that it raised $51.5 million in a funding spherical that values the startup at over $1 billion. G Squared led the fairness spherical with participation from UiPath, making AirSlate the primary portfolio firm for UiPath’s newly-launched, previously-unannounced UiPath Ventures arm.
As part of the UiPath Ventures funding, AirSlate CEO Borya Shakhnovich mentioned that AirSlate will type a “strategic expertise partnership” with UiPath, which can present assets together with technical experience.
“We see a chance to share our expertise and fervour for fostering the following technology of modern expertise options harnessing the facility of automation, AI, and machine studying … We imagine there may be great potential in deepening and broadening the automation layer of the IT stack to assist extra corporations digitize and automate their operations,” Vijay Khanna, chief company growth officer at UiPath, mentioned in an emailed assertion. “The missions of UiPath and airSlate to allow corporations to develop sooner and improve creativity and productiveness for tens of millions of employees are carefully aligned, which makes AirSlate a pure match for our funding from UiPath Ventures.”
It’s the assumption of some analysts that the marketplace for course of automation — and robotic course of automation specifically, which leverages AI to automate sure software program duties — is headed towards consolidation. A current Forrester Analysis report predicts that the phase will begin to flatten as quickly as 2023 as corporations shift to broader automation options. There’s proof to assist this. UiPath, which is without doubt one of the largest RPA distributors, noticed its market cap drop from $35 billion to $15 million throughout the span of a 12 months. And a lot of smaller gamers, together with Signavio, Intellibot and Servicetrace, had been snatched up by incumbent tech corporations.
However Shakhnovich claims that AirSlate is bucking the pattern. Whereas he wouldn’t disclose financials, Shakhnovich mentioned that over 900,000 prospects and 10 million customers worldwide use AirSlate’s workflow options for gathering digital signatures, managing paperwork, and extra.
“With AirSlate’s suite of merchandise for digital transformation, a person can select the extent of sophistication of their workflow automation journey, from merely going analog to digital to including some workflow options to the total scope automation,” Shakhnovich informed TechCrunch through electronic mail. “Enterprise IT resolution makers ought to care about AirSlate as a result of it alleviates the IT expertise hole and in addition solves the issue of the explosion within the variety of apps getting used, with corresponding challenges in knowledge transport between these apps.”
AirSlate was based in 2008 by Vadim Yasinovsky as PDFfiller, with a give attention to constructing modifying instruments for PDF recordsdata. In 2012, Shakhnovich, beforehand a post-doc fellow at Harvard, joined PDFfiller because it rebranded to AirSlate.
Powered by RPA, AirSlate can assist carry out duties like negotiating and facilitating funds by producing prefilled pages, sending reminders and notifications, and extracting knowledge to replace data, Shakhnovich says. The platform leverages rules-based bots that combine with present companies to automate approvals, knowledge analytics, alerts, permission task, and knowledge switch.
For corporations in want of a completely managed providing, there’s AirSlate Enterprise Cloud, which spans PDF modifying, esignature workflows, and doc course of automation. Enterprise Cloud subscribers can writer new (or edit present) PDF paperwork, create and handle workflows, assign roles, and ship out paperwork for esigning. Additionally they acquire entry to a web based library of state-specific authorized types, together with nondisclosure agreements, actual property types, wills, and buyer contracts.
“Earlier than the pandemic, distant work was already rising in recognition, however the onset of COVID-19 dramatically accelerated the pattern,” Shakhnovich mentioned. “The ‘convey your individual machine’ office coverage and remote-first workforce shifts have accelerated the consumerization of enterprise software program … The necessity for accessibility is pushing the pattern of consumerization additional, and AirSlate is making business-to-business expertise extra adaptable, intuitive, and simple to make use of.”
Like its many rivals within the course of automation area, AirSlate faces hurdles to additional progress, together with implementation challenges with prospects. In keeping with a 2021 survey from Ensign, whereas the overwhelming majority of corporations see a return on funding from workflow automation, solely 20% of use the expertise as a option to innovate and create new companies. The respondents blame a lack of understanding amongst their workforce and resistance to vary, in addition to unrealistic expectations from the C-suite.
In one other problem, the broader software-based automation business — whereas nonetheless flush with money — is headed towards consolidation. SAP acquired German course of automation firm Signavio in January 2021, simply earlier than ServiceNow acquired into the RPA phase with the buyout of India-based Intellibot.io. IBM acquired course of mining software program firm MyInvenio in April. And Salesforce’s MuleSoft and Microsoft adopted swimsuit with the purchases of automation tech suppliers Servicetrace and Clear Software program, respectively.
However regardless of this, and the truth that 80% of its workforce relies out of Kyiv — a warzone — Shakhnovich says that AirSlate has “remained resilient” and plans to just about double its workforce of 1,000 staff and full-time contractors throughout Ukraine, Poland, the U.S. and different nations the place it has bases of operations.
“Working practices throughout industries proceed to evolve and shifting market circumstances convey new challenges,””Spencer McLeod, associate and head of analysis at G Squared, mentioned in a press release. “Companies are persevering with to hunt out modern, value-driving office automation options like airSlate. Providing a mixture of suitable instruments, AirSlate’s platform has broad attain and appeals to a big market, and its bold administration workforce stays targeted on quickly delivering new options at aggressive charges.”
Thus far, AirSlate has raised $185.3 million in financing, a portion of which is debt.