Robotic process automation has become very lively in recent months. New York-based UiPath is set to launch an initial public offering after securing a stunning $ 35 billion valuation in February. In China, local RPA start-up Laiye is also making waves.
Laiye, who develops software to mimic mundane workplace tasks such as keystrokes and mouse clicks, said he raised $ 50 million in a C + series. The product came about a year after the Beijing-based company pulled the first installment of its Series C cycle.
Six-year-old Laiye, led by Baidu veterans, has raised more than $ 130 million to date according to public information.
The main investors in the C + Series were Ping An Global Voyager Fund, a strategic startup investment vehicle of Chinese financial conglomerate Ping An, and Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Industry Equity Investment Fund, a government-backed fund. Other attendees included Lightspeed China Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia China and Wu Capital.
RPA tools are luring companies looking for ways to automate workflows during COVID-19, which has disrupted collaboration in the office. But enterprise technology was already gaining traction before the pandemic. Like my colleague, Ron Miller wrote this month in the wake of UiPath’s S1 repository:
“The category was growing in popularity at that time because it dealt with automation in a legacy context. This meant that companies with deep legacy technology – virtually anyone not born in the cloud – could automate on older platforms without tearing up and replacing, an expensive and risky business that most CEOs would rather not. undertake. “
In one case, Laiye’s RPA software helped Lanzhou City social security workers speed up the process of reconciling their accounts by 75%; in the past, they had to enter retiree information and manually verify if the details were correct.
In another case, Laiye’s chatbot helped automate the national population census in several cities in southern China, freeing enumerators from door-to-door household visits.
Laiye said his RPA business achieved positive cash flow and its chatbot business became profitable in the fourth quarter of 2020. Its free edition has gathered more than 400,000 developers, and the company also operates a linking robot marketplace. from independent developers to small businesses. time-consuming businesses with automation needs.
Laiye is expanding its services globally and boasts that its footprint is now spamming Asia, the United States, and Europe.
“Laiye aims to promote the world’s largest software robot developer community and has built the world’s largest robot marketplace within the next three years, and we plan to certify at least one million software robot developers here. 2025, ”said Wang Guanchun, President and CEO Laiye.
“We believe that the digital workforce and intelligent automation will reach all areas of life as long as more human workers can learn RPA and AI.”