Enterprise software startup UiPath is Europe's latest decacorn, hitting a valuation of $10 billion after a Series E fundraise in July.
UiPath offers something called robotic process automation, which essentially aims to automate repetitive computer tasks.
We spoke to two European backers of UiPath, who took a gamble that the startup's focus on an emerging area of enterprise software would pay off.
"When I first met Daniel I was struck by his conviction," Reshma Sohoni, partner at Seedcamp, said. "He was talking about RPA which was a product that was hard to imagine at the time but his belief and self confidence were already there."
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UiPath — Romania's first unicorn startup, Europe's latest decacorn, and one of the fastest growing software companies in the world — started in a flat in Bucharest in 2005.
The company last month in July became Europe's latest decacorn (a company with a valuation of $10 billion) company, after a $225 million Series E round.
Founded out of Romania and now based in New York, the startup raised its first institutional funding in 2016, and has gone on to pioneer software automation in just four years.
Business Insider spoke to two key European investors in the buzzy software startup, Seedcamp partner Reshma Sohoni who invested in 2016, and Accel partner Philippe Botteri who led the company's $30 million Series A in 2017, to understand how to spot a potential decacorn.
Pivoting into the emerging process automation market
In 2005, CEO Daniel Dines and CTO Marius Tirca founded DeskOver, an automation library startup that would eventually pivot to become UiPath.
In 2012, the pair began to look into robotic process automation, a productivity tool that allows a user to configure one or more scripts (which some vendors refer to as "bots") to activate specific keystrokes in an automated fashion. The goal is to automate repetitive computer tasks, freeing up time for human workers.
Automation is big business now, but the technology was in its early stages at that time. UiPath spent years developing its tech before winning a competition to find the best robotic process automation tech by Indian consulting firm BPO in 2015.
The company took the bold move of founding a US office and soon caught the attention of VC investors including Earlybird, Credo Ventures and Seedcamp, which funded a $1.6 million seed round in the company.
"When I first met Daniel I was struck by his conviction," Reshma Sohoni, partner at Seedcamp, told Business Insider in an interview. "He was talking about RPA which was a product that was hard to imagine at the time but his belief and self confidence were already there."
In 2019, robotic process automation market grew 62.9% to $1.4 billion and held its position as the fastest-growing segment in the enterprise software market for a second year, according to research firm Gartner.
The company soon opened offices in other locations within Europe and Asia, taking board members by surprise with ambitious growth plans.
Even at that stage, there was some uncertainty about the sector more generally.
"The company was moving from a services and consulting model to a software model with 80/90% gross margins," Sohoni added. "Our research showed that the curve was ticking upwards but automation in some cases still meant data farms in India with people copy and pasting from one screen to another."
Investors gambled on the founders as much as the technology
In early February 2017, a team from global VC fund Accel visited Romania for two days to meet with Daniel Dines and the UiPath team.
Accel would go on to lead a $30 million Series A round in the company which was, according to investor Philippe Botteri, "a unique process."
"We have invested in major companies like Spotify and the thing that always strikes you is the founder, we had that with Daniel," Botteri told Business Insider. "Daniel is a one-of-a-kind founder, he had a global vision for the company from the get-go, he's very product-orientated, and driven."
Accel also felt UiPath had strong potential after conducting its due diligence process.
UiPath had recently signed a large contract with a Fortune 500 company with a three- or four-month sales cycle — literally how long it takes to land a deal from start to finish. Accel normally found European startups took 12-18 months to land such deals.
The fact the company already had operations in the US helped while UiPath's tech also caught Accel's eye. The other partner from Accel was Romania-born Luciana Lixandru, now a partner at Sequoia Capital.
UiPath has now raised $1.2 billion in venture funding in four short years, according to Crunchbase, and in that time has gone on to become a market leader in the automation space, according to research firm Gartner with around $400 million annual recurring revenue. Another high-valued European leader in the space is the UK's Blue Prism, which has a market cap of £1.15 billion ($1.5 billion).
Spotting a unicorn
UiPath is a probable "home run" for its venture capital backers — the bet that will likely yield outsize returns and negate other failed startups in the portfolio.
How do you spot one?
"When it comes to spotting potential unicorns, be it TransferWise, Revolut, or a decacorn like UiPath the question we ask is 'What are the things that have to go right in order for this to impactful and/or disruptive?'" Sohoni said. "Daniel had the right validation points and confidence as a founder but also wanted to continue to invest in R&D and product."
Botteri simply quotes his fund's thesis, based on French scientist Louis Pasteur's quote: "In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind."
He added: "We knew automation was an interesting market and UiPath was at the intersection of secular trends, including data, AI productivity, and automation."
It hasn't been a totally smooth journey to decacorn status.
The company laid off about 400 people in October 2019, only a few months after raising $568 million at a $7 billion valuation and lost its CFO in the process, a series of events that puzzled industry watchers.
However, the company is bowling forward with reported plans for an IPO in 2021. Employees are positive about the company's culture, with Dines being ranked by female employees as among the best of current tech CEOs.
Forrester analyst Craig Le Clair estimates that in three to four years, the RPA software market could be worth $4 billion, while RPA services would be worth $12 billion.
"Daniel famously said 'I want one robot for every person,'" Botteri added. "If you are always driving to do more, you can do things people thought were impossible."SEE ALSO: How 2 immigrant founders are trying to help marginalized communities build credit scores. 'America needs to look in the mirror and see what it has done.'
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The consumer IoT market is estimated to be valued USD 46.8 billion by 2018 and is projected to reach USD 104.4 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 17.39% during 2018–2023.The growth of the consumer IoT market can be attributed to the growing number of internet users and adoption of smart devices, increasing awareness about fitness and rise in disposable incomes in developing economies, consumer preference for increased convenience and better lifestyle, increasing significance of home monitoring from remote locations, and government regulations for security of IoT devices.Ask for PDF to Know More:https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/pdfdownloadNew.asp?id=49972321The consumer IoT market is witnessing many technological advancements.The companies’ emphasis on launching comprehensive IoT solutions for their customers is likely to drive the consumer IoT market.For example, in February 2018, Qualcomm Technologies announced IoT development kits based on the QCA4020 and QCA4024 SoCs.The kits provide interoperability among diverse IoT devices including popular wireless standards, protocols and communication frameworks, and easy connectivity to various cloud and application services.The consumer IoT market for solutions is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period.The solution segment consists of software and platform.By implementing the IoT data management software, businesses are aiming to get a competitive edge with predictive analytics, as well as optimize their business operations.
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According to the new market research report on the "COVID-19 Impact on Display Panel Market by Product (PC Monitors, Tablets, Smartphones, Wearables, Automotive Displays, TVs, and Large Screen), Industry, and Region - Global Forecast to 2025", Post-COVID-19, the global display panel market is projected to grow from USD 107.0 billion in 2020 to reach USD 152.0 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 7.3%.The estimation for 2020 is down by ~26% compared to the pre-COVID-19 estimate.Factors that drive the growth of the post-COVID-19 display panel market include the growing acceptance of the work-from-home norm, rising focus of regional financial institutions to design fiscal policies for keeping the display market floating during the COVID-19 crisis, shifting manufacturing units to less affected regions, increasing demand for 4K and 8K displays with the availability of UHD content, surging adoption of OLED displays in smartphones and rising demand for flexible display panels, increasing investments for the construction of new OLED and LCD panel manufacturing facilities.The booming automotive displays industry and increasing focus on the development of energy-efficient, attractive, and high-end-specification display products using advanced technologies such as OLED and AMOLED are the other key factors that foster the demand for display panels.Browse 4 market data Tables and 52 Figures spread through 120 Pages and in-depth TOC on "COVID-19 Impact on Display Panel Market - Global Forecast to 2025"Download PDF Brochure @ https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/pdfdownloadNew.asp?id=203916699 Demand for PC monitors and tablets would increase amidst pandemic crisis during forecast period The display panel industry for PCs, monitors, and tablets is expected to grow at a high CAGR from 2020 to 2025.An increase in working from home and online activities meant a rise in demand for products such as monitors, laptops, and tablets.Limited supply and high demand have increased the costs of components, with domestic components being priced at 30% higher than Chinese components.
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Drill-down visualizations can be a good way to present a lot of data in a digestible format. In this example, we’ll create a graph of median home values by U.S. state using R and the highcharter package. Sharon Machlis, IDG
Initial graph of median home values by state (highest and lowest 10 states). Data from Zillow.To read this article in full, please click here
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After waiting for so long, Microsoft is finally launching on September 15 in 22 countries, albeit for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers. While it’ll be in beta form, it’ll be great to finally see Microsoft’s pet project finally reach gamers. Project xCloud has been in the works for a while as Microsoft’s cloud gaming solution — a “play your games anywhere, anytime” ambition we’ve also seen from the likes of Google’s Stadia. Now it seems to have found a home as the “cloud gaming” portion of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, Microsoft’s gaming subscription service. Starting on September 15, subscribers will be… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Android,Xbox
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Self-driving-car engineer Anthony Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a federal judge in San Francisco Tuesday afternoon, after pleading guilty to one count of trade secret theft in May.
The once-celebrated engineer was at the center of Waymo's legal fight with Uber.
Levandowski was a founding member of Google's "Project Chauffeur," which eventually became Waymo.
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After pleading guilty to trade secret theft, Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer at the center of a massive legal fight between Waymo and Uber, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a federal judge Tuesday afternoon.
He also agreed to pay Google $756,499 in restitution, to compensate the company for helping the government prosecute the case. Levandowski will not begin his prison sentence until the COVID-19 pandemic has entirely passed, and will also be charged a fine of $95,000.
Levandowski, 40, was indicted on 33 criminal counts of trade secret theft and attempted trade secret theft in August 2019.
The Department of Justice alleged he had left Google with troves of confidential technical documents with the intent to use them for his personal gain. Those same charges were at the heart of Waymo's 2017 lawsuit against Uber, which did not name Levandowski as a defendant.
The engineer left Google's team — which he had helped found in 2009 — in January 2016 to found a trucking-focused startup called Otto. The Google effort, meanwhile, took on the name Waymo in December 2016, when it became a standalone company under the Alphabet umbrella. A few months after Otto was founded, Uber acquired the small outfit for a reported $680 million and put Levandowski in charge of its entire self-driving effort.
Waymo alleged that the ride-hailing giant set up the deal with Levandowski so it could use Google IP to accelerate its self-driving research, which then-CEO Travis Kalanick believed was key to Uber's long-term survival. After a year of legal wrangling, the case went to trial in February 2018, only to be settled within a week. By then, Kalanick had fired Levandowski, who declined to testify in the case, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Levandowski soon founded another self-driving truck startup, Pronto, but resigned his post as CEO when the DOJ indicted him. He initially declared himself innocent and promised to fight the charges, which could have landed him in prison for decades. In March, he accepted a deal in which he pled guilty to one of the 33 counts, involving a weekly report that tracked the Google team's progress, detailed technical challenges, and included notes on how the team had solved various problems in the past.
As part of his plea, the engineer acknowledged that that document counted as a trade secret, and that he had intended to use it for personal gain. He also admitted to downloading about 14,000 files from a Google server and moving them onto his personal computer. "I'm happy to put this behind me," he told Wired at the time.
In his hearing, Levandowski's attorneys asked that he serve 12 months in home confinement at his house in Marin County, California, citing respiratory problems (he's suffered two bouts of pneumonia in recent years) and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Levandowski also proposed he do community service involving talking to engineering students about lessons from his case.
"Mr Levandowski can solve big problems," Judge William Alsup — who also tried the Waymo v. Uber case — said. "I respect that. I want you to know that." But, Alsup said, "This was not a small crime...This was the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen." He cited the importance of deterring others from committing such crimes. "I want them to think, 'I could end up in federal prison.'"
Alsup also instructed Levandowski that, after serving his sentence, he must give a speech to a total of 200 people, titled "Why I Went to Federal Prison." Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: July 15 is Tax Day — here's what it's like to do your own taxes for the very first time
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So this is farewell: Google is officially killing off Play Music in favor of YouTube Music at the end of this year. While we’ve known for a while that the shutdown was coming, this is the first time we’ve had a concrete timeline on its imminent demise. By the end of the year, YouTube Music is replacing Google Play Music as Google’s home for music listening & discovery ➡️ https://t.co/6pnCjH29ez To make the transition as easy as possible for Google Play Music members, we’re walking you through everything to know & do here ⬇️ — TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) August 4, 2020… This story continues at The Next WebOr just read more coverage about: Google Play,YouTube,Google
On Tuesday, Uber announced that corporate employees will have their voluntary work from home policy extended through June 2021.
Corporate employees will also be given a $500 stipend for a home office setup.
Uber is joining a growing list of companies that have extended their work-from-home polices into 2021.
The company has still not issued a uniform policy for drivers during this time.
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On Tuesday, Uber announced that corporate employees will be allowed to voluntarily work from home through June 2021.
"As a company built on flexible working, we want to provide our team with flexibility, choice and longer term clarity so they can plan ahead," the company said in a statement to Business Insider.
In order to accommodate this change, Uber will be offering a $500 stipend to help employees with their home office setups.
If local offices open before June 2021, employees will have the option returning to the office if they feel comfortable. Uber said that whatever decision employees make will not factor into performance reviews.
While the company said it will be reevaluating the policy for a possible extension in the spring of 2021, the policy itself will not be shortened.
For drivers, Uber is offering financial assistance guides and a website for drivers to find other forms of employment if they are unable to make the same amount of money as they were in March before the coronavirus pandemic curbed the demand for ride sharing. The company has not announced any stipend for drivers at this time.
Uber is joining a long list of companies that have extended their work-from-home policies into 2021. Facebook and Google have also announced similar policies.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
Cosmetic procedures like a face-lift or tummy tuck have long been popular among Hollywood celebrities, and now face treatments and injections are entering the world of Gen Z influencers.
Kristina Kitsos, an aesthetic injector and non-surgical enhancement nurse, has worked with some of TikTok's biggest stars.
She spoke with Business Insider about the treatments she administers and working with the TikTok collab group Clubhouse.
"Younger influencers, like the ones in Clubhouse, I do some injections on them for sure, but it's minimal and I usually do about 30 to 40% of what they ask for because I kind of talk them off the ledge and tell them how they don't want to go overboard," she said.
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Many young social-media influencers who rise to fame on platforms like TikTok or Instagram have already gotten into the world of cosmetic enhancements.
Cosmetic procedures like a face-lift or tummy tuck have long been popular among Hollywood celebrities, and now treatments like injections or fillers on the lip or around the chin and forehead are trending among some Gen Z influencers.
Many influencers have been open with their fans about getting procedures done, with creators like Jeffree Star (11 million YouTube subscribers) and Corinna Kopf (4 million Instagram followers) documenting themselves getting lip injections.
Some doctors and nurses have even developed their own social-media followings by sharing their work on famous clients. For instance, plastic surgeon Dr. Ashkan Ghavami has around 470,000 Instagram followers, and has recently shared content around procedures he's done on influencers like Clubhouse's Daisy Keech (5 million Instagram followers) and Teala Dunn (3 million Instagram followers).
Kristina Kitsos, an aesthetic injector and non-surgical enhancement nurse in Los Angeles, has around 135,000 Instagram followers and has worked with some of TikTok's top stars. Unlike the procedures of a plastic surgeon, Kitsos' treatments are meant to fade after a few months.
Kitsos is the choice cosmetic nurse for some members of the popular TikTok collab group Clubhouse, and her clients include members Michelle Wozniak (2 million TikTok followers), Jay Laurent (200,000 TikTok followers), and Mariana Morais (900,000 TikTok followers).
Kitsos said "glass skin," or dewy, pore-less skin is a look that many of her influencer clients have asked for recently. The skincare trend originated in Korea and has gone viral on social media. Kitsos said other common treatments are lip fillers and meso-injections that tighten the skin with vitamins, enzymes, hormones, and plant extracts.
She added that lip fillers have become more popular among her male clients recently, especially after Netflix's "Outer Banks" was released because some wanted to look more like the main character John B. Along with lip fillers, some men also often ask for jawline fillers, which will make their jawline look more angular, she said.
"The whole reason I do what I do is just to give people confidence," Kitsos told Business Insider. "It's not necessarily to make them look like a Barbie or have no flaws."
But others in both the medical and influencer worlds have questioned whether these procedures are beneficial, especially for mental health.
Dr. Gary Linkov, a New York City-based facial plastic surgeon, told Business Insider that the medical risks that come with fillers are rare, but generally, young adults and teenagers should be more concerned with why they want to change their appearance and if it's the right decision for their face.
"You're always working off what your base anatomy is and what might look good on your specific face," Linkov said. "It's hard with these face filter apps to keep them honest and say, this could be an honest result. Despite this being my profession, I think at some point we need a little self acceptance and I do think there is more work we can do to love ourselves for what we have. It's okay if things aren't so perfect."
YouTuber and licensed therapist Kati Morton said any cosmetic enhancement is born out of the belief that the way we look isn't good enough for one reason or another.
"Getting something done isn't going to make us feel any better about ourselves," Morton told Business Insider. "In my experience, getting one thing done only opens the flood gates for more procedures, because the real issue is in our own confidence and self esteem. We have to notice how we are talking to ourselves about how we look and act, and work to make that conversation more positive. I believe that once we do that we will see that these cosmetic enhancements aren't necessary after all."
Influencers want to match how they look from augmented reality beauty filters on social media, with glowing clear skin
Kitsos said that many of her younger patients — like those Gen Z TikTok stars — come to her afraid of being seen without makeup.
"My goal is to have everyone be able to go out without makeup," she said.
Kitsos gives skincare recommendations and treatments as well as fillers and injections.
"It depends on their age," Kitsos said. "Younger influencers, like the ones in Clubhouse, I do some injections on them for sure, but it's minimal and I usually do about 30 to 40% of what they ask for because I kind of talk them off the ledge and tell them how they don't want to go overboard. I feel like I'm the voice of reason in their heads."
She also performs microbotox on patients for acne, headaches, and sweating, she said.
"A lot of my older clients ask why I inject younger girls, but if I don't do it they will just go to someone else and I feel it's my role to teach them about the pitfalls that come with injecting," she said.
Generally, she said influencers want to look like they do on social media, with glowing clear skin masked on from the beauty filters created by Snapchat and Instagram.
In 2019, Instagram removed some face-changing filters from the app over concerns that they contributed to unrealistic beauty standards, and some influencers say their work has negatively impacted their mental health, and that they struggle with body image issues.
Before doing anything, Kitsos said she talks through any changes with her clients to prevent any harsh transformations.
"I think that there are some people who take it to the extreme and that's really odd looking," she said. "Usually I can talk them into doing a little less."
What she skincare products she recommends to influencers and other clients
Kitsos is also a skincare influencer in her own right.
She links to her recommended skincare products on Instagram through the Amazon affiliate program where she earns a commission from every sale.
She recommends spending less on face wash and more more on serums without dyes or perfumes. She also said glycolic acid pads are popular for her patients who don't wash their face as often and have blackheads.
While her clients frequently appear on her social feeds, Kisos said she has never paid an influencer to promote her services or products, but she does gift some products. Mostly, she lands her clients through word-of-mouth.
"Sometimes the influencers pay a discounted rate but not always," Kitsos said. "It really depends on a number of different factors. They do, however, get some of my products gifted to them for the first time to try it."
Read more on the business of influencers, according to industry insiders:
How to get in contact with top influencers using Instagram direct messages, according to a CEO who has landed clients like TikTok star Addison Rae with a simple DM: Unlike LinkedIn or Twitter, on Instagram users can direct message anyone – no matter how famous they are.
The Instagram metrics that brands are using in 2020 to decide whether to hire an influencer and to measure campaign performance: Many brands ask for certain Instagram metrics before and after an influencer campaign to measure its overall success and reach.
Meet the team helping TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio launch a music career without a major record label: We spoke with the D'Amelio family's managers about developing a song with Dixie and their plans to work with more talent on music going forward.
Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: A cleaning expert reveals her 3-step method for cleaning your entire home quickly
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Apple's longtime head of marketing, Phil Schiller, is stepping aside, Apple announced Tuesday.
Schiller will remain at the company as an Apple Fellow, while another longtime employee, Greg Joswiak, takes his place.
The change marks the third high-profile leadership shakeup since early 2019 and comes as Apple is facing government scrutiny over its App Store practices.
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Phil Schiller, Apple's longtime head of marketing, is stepping aside from his role at the company, Apple announced Tuesday.
Apple said Schiller will remain at the company as an Apple Fellow, continuing to lead Apple's events and the App Store. Greg Joswiak, another longtime employee in Apple's product marketing division, will take over Schiller's previous role as senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
Schiller has worked at Apple since 1987, and said in a statement that the move to a Fellow role is due to "planned changes in my life," as he recently turned 60 and wants to "make some time in the years ahead for my family, friends, and a few personal projects I care deeply about."
Not much is known about Apple's Fellow program, but it appears to honor those who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of computers. Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak lists himself as an Apple Fellow, as does early Apple employee and investor Guy Kawasaki.
The shift in Schiller's role marks the third leadership shakeup at Apple since early 2019. Apple's former head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, left the company that April, while former design chief Jony Ive announced his departure that June. In all three cases, Apple has promoted internally rather than hire someone to fill those roles.
Schiller's role change comes at a challenging time for the company, which is facing scrutiny over its App Store practices. Apple CEO Tim Cook testified before the House antitrust subcommittee last week, where he was grilled about how Apple treats developers who use the App Store, and whether Apple has engaged in anticompetitive behavior on its platform. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: We tested a machine that brews beer at the push of a button
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Apple has announced the new iMac 27-inch (2020) all-in-one with an eye on people working from home.
Re-create the feeling of the first day at school with bells and hallway sounds
I’m a big fan of outsourcing essential chores to robots. There is something therapeutic about handing over my responsibilities to a machine instead of another human. Robots have no feelings, no demands, no agency over their actions — they’re simply perfect vessels of servitude (a hot take I expect to pay dearly for when the singularity takes place). True, robots used to get a bad rap when it comes to actually doing their jobs right, but that has been changing recently. I used to be a skeptic, too, but my brief affair with the Roomba i7+ turned me into a believer. To be fair,… This story continues at The Next Web