Highlight Report

Roboyo acquires AKOA and stakes claim to intelligent automation services crown

June 18, 2021

Roboyo is claiming the crown of ‘world’s biggest intelligent automation professional services company’ with its acquisition of Stockholm-based Another Kind of Automation (AKOA).

The two had been going toe-to-toe for business in the DACH area (Germany-Austria-Switzerland) making this deal an effective way for Roboyo to remove a competitor and scale. Together they are on plan to generate €30m in revenue this year.

The Nuremberg, Germany-based company adds 80-90 AKOA employees to its standing 150-160 people, now working in 16 cities across nine countries and three continents. The acquisition comes after the business – one of the rising stars covered by HFS in 2020 in The Specialists: The Rise and Evolution of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Pure Play Service Providers landed growth capital of €21 million from PE backer MML Capital, in September 2020.

Investment has driven rapid growth in Austria, France, and the UK

That investment has already helped establish a presence in Austria, France, and the UK. AKOA brings strength in the Nordics – and additional footprint in the US, where it adds Chicago and New York offices to Roboyo’s Atlanta home.

To that extent, the move makes good on its promise to “use the investment for continued international expansion,” bringing the US team up to 30-strong. But even this begs the question: what next for North America – Roboyo’s stated target at the time it landed its €21m?

Europe CEO Nic Hess reveals further US expansion is indeed on the cards. In the meantime, scaling up with AKOA responds to demand from clients seeking enterprise-scale expertise and a global footprint.

Founded in 2015 by former Big 4 consultants, Roboyo’s early championing of UiPath helped develop the RPA market in continental Europe. It continues to set its sights on the North American and Asia-Pac market and has enjoyed triple-digit growth driven by consulting-led process optimization, custom development, and productization of its internal IP with its Converge platform to accelerate and manage engagements.

Expanding beyond RPA toward transformation through automation

Roboyo became the first global partner to achieve Triple Diamond partner status with UiPath in July 2019 – as a business, training, and tech partner. Today Roboyo delivers RPA with ‘the big three’ of UiPath, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere – with the skew towards UiPath.

And it continues on a path beyond simple task automation. In expanding into OCR, ML, and AI to infuse smarter decision-making in automated processes, it is now working with a wide stable of suppliers, such as ABBYY, Outsystems, Celonis, Dialogflow, and Bizagi.

It also consults to businesses on how automation can be transformative if the organization is prepared to rethink how work gets done – and by which person or what bot. Hess says he now has 40 people working in this ‘non-technical side of transformation’.

One measure of the broadening scope of automation engagements that Roboyo is delivering is in the number in which more than one technology is deployed (from RPA, AI, ML, OCR). Hess now estimates this at 70-80%. Despite, that, he says, the team is still finding large numbers of clients starting from scratch on their automation journey.

In the past year, Roboyo productized its proprietary Converge platform, formalizing its role as a management tool to identify, prioritize, implement and run automation programs.

Focus on enabling the human workforce aligns with OneOffice vision

And its focus on supporting the human workforce with digital workers (Human+), is in strong alignment with the HFS OneOffice vision in which digital workers assist and complement human expertise and learn from their interactions and the feedback data generated. (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 People & Process Change are assisted by the digital workforce in the One Office Emerging Tech Platform

Source: HFS Research 2021. Examples are for illustration.

The Bottom Line: Deal ramps up UiPath power in Europe. Next stop, the world?

Roboyo scales its UiPath resources and credentials still further through the acquisition of AKOA, which itself holds UiPath Professional Services Certification. In taking out a key competitor, it lands the capacity and capabilities to scale even faster in its core European market. We like the steps already taken to grow beyond RPA – and the additional value created for clients in applying the AND effect of more than one solution. At a time when investment in automation remains strong, (70% of the Global 2000 expect to increase their stake in 2021) Roboyo must now press their scale advantage by building its footprint, perhaps via the right acquisition, in the NA market.

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