Highlight Report

Robocorp RPA is coming for the middle market

July 6, 2021

Robocorp Technologies Inc. is on a mission to bring robotic process automation to more enterprises after landing a $21 million early-stage round of funding.

The deal follows hot on the heels of Robocorp being named a OneOffice Hot Vendor in Q1 2021. Its developer-focus and consumption-based pricing model challenge established RPA norms and open the way to the under-served mid-tier enterprise.

Founded in 2019, Robocorp is a US-based start-up with strong Finnish roots offering open-source automation that is Python-based and cloud-native. Deliberately steering clear of the dash to low-code/no-code, it is unashamedly designed for developers, offering low-friction access to technology that emphasizes scalability and extensibility.

Developer-first and open source, this cloud-native solution is carving a niche

The open-source agenda further distinguishes it from more established RPA players, having built an open-source software stack laden with tools developers can use to design, orchestrate and run robots directly from the cloud. Some 5,000 developers are already taking advantage, with 1,000 organizations adopting the offering.

Canvas Ventures led the Series A round, with participation from Benchmark Capital, Slow Ventures, Uncorrelated Ventures, Haystack Ventures, Artisanal Ventures, Firstminute Capital, and a host of angel investors. It follows $11 million in funding rounds in November 2019 and April 2020.

Robocorp will use the money to build out their sales and marketing team, improve products and expand support for the developer community – with the focus on getting developers over the line on their first build.

Self-managed option integrates analytics and allows use of own database

They have renamed their orchestration platform as Robocorp Control Room and it now offers deployment through Robocorp Cloud, and a new self-managed (single tenant cloud or virtual private cloud) option for ISVs, ‘Robot-as-a-Service’ partners and enterprises demanding enhanced data residency, governance, and compliance.

The self-managed version supports cloud-native on single tenant and virtual private cloud environments, allows the option of using your own database or robot container clusters and customized infrastructure options for Robot container clusters; logging; analytics & BI tool integrations – and the ability to integrate your own analytics system.

Partners are proving a key route to market for the company, with as many as 60 signed up now. When named a Hot Vendor in Q1 that total stood at 35.

Samplers-turned-evangelists are driving a new direct sales model

Sales also come through the established open-source bottom-up route, as developers test, enjoy and then evangelize the product in their enterprise organizations.

And Robocorp is also starting to make inroads with its direct sales model – which itself emerged organically from evangelists in the developer community. Outreach to mid-market-and-up enterprises is now actively underway and several proof-of-concept engagements have followed.

While headquartered in San Francisco, most of the development team are in Europe, working in dispersed and diverse locations. Even their hub in Helsinki, Finland, is a co-working space. It’s a born-distributed team that will stay working-from-anywhere into the future.

The Bottom Line: Robocorp needs to focus on partners to lay down the law in mid-market automation

Robocorp’s model has the potential to take automation to places less-served – going downstream to bring the value of automation to small and middle-market companies, helping challengers level the automation playing field against the deep pockets of enterprise rivals (perhaps RoboSME would have been a more apt, if less Hollywood name?).

To deliver on their mission, they need to formalize and focus their partnership program. HFS recommends quality over quantity in their case – partnering in impactful, genuinely co-marketed, opportunities.

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