Three of the four co-founders of Automation Anywhere, India’s latest tech start-up to be classified as a ‘Unicorn’ (a start-up company with a valuation of over US$ 1 billion) have their roots in Palanpur!
Mihir Shukla, son of Ramilaben and Sanatbhai Shukla from Palanpur, was a student of Vidyamandir from LKG to Std 12 and was the district topper in Std 12 Science in 1990. His co-founder Ankur Kothari is the son of Smita and Naren Kothari (Stellar Exports), while Neeti Mehta is the daughter of Ilaben and Janakbhai Mehta, also originally from Palanpur.
Kothari, currently the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Shukla, currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), are two of the four Indian-origin entrepreneurs – Neeti Mehta and Rushabh Parmani were the others – who came together in 2003 to set up Automation Anywhere, today a global leader in the robotic process automation (RPA) market with over 1,000 enterprise customers worldwide. RPA is basically about automating routine, standardised tasks in an organisation using computer software and processes.
The company hit the headlines in early July when it successfully completed its Series A financing round of US$ 250 million led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Goldman Sachs Growth Equity with participation from General Atlantic and World Innovation Lab (WiL). This is one of the largest Series A rounds on record for an enterprise software company, and took Automation Anywhere’s post-money valuation to a massive $1.8 billion.
Subsequently, its product IQ Bot™ was a gold winner in the Hot Technology category of the 2018 IT World Awards®, organised by Network Products Guide, the industry's leading technology research and advisory guide.
Most recently, it joined hands with EdCast for “futureskills,” a NASSCOM skilling initiative unveiled by Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year, becoming the first provider of upskilling programs in the RPA domain under futureskills initiative. RPA is among the eight technologies identified by NASSCOM which are poised to grow tremendously, both nationally and globally, in the coming decade.
Prior to joining hands to set up Automation Anywhere, Kothari and Parmani both competed degrees in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and also worked together at Siebel Systems which was acquired by Oracle. While Shukla graduated from MS University in Baroda and then studied in Michigan State University, and subsequently worked at a number of leading tech companies including Netscape, Infoseek and OmniSky, one of the earliest creators of Internet-enabled smart phones, Mehta completed her degree in marketing from Bond University in Australia and worked at Intuit.
Automation Anywhere is headquartered in the US, but its India operations are a crucial part of the enterprise, described by its founders as the ‘codevelopment’ headquarters. Nearly half of its total global workforce of 800 employees are based out of Vadodara, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
The company builds software robots (bots) to automate business processes that have never been automated by traditional technology platforms and are still mainly managed manually by hundreds of thousands of human workers. It pioneered RPA and along with its Intelligent Digital Workforce Platform, which also combines cognitive automation and analytics, drives productivity and business process accuracy with near-zero error rates across numerous global businesses. Its clients include Unilever, Cisco, Synergy, Google, Tesco, ANZ, ING, Volkswagen, GM, Siemens, Mastercard and many more.
Looking ahead, Kothari told the media, “In the past seven to eight years, we have been growing over 100% YoY. We believe that it has hit an inflection point in the past year or so.”
Shukla said, “Customers tell us that traditional process automation technologies are capable of automating only about 20 percent of an enterprise’s business processes. We believe our Intelligent Digital Workforce Platform can automate up to 80 percent of these processes. It’s a stark contrast and an enormous opportunity.”
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