What is it about? – Robotic Process Automation, in short: RPA, is currently the most commercially significant use of artificial intelligence. RPA includes Google’s Duplex: a bot that makes routine calls. Amazon, on the other hand, uses RPA to sift through CVs and prioritise top candidates. Similar to Google’s Duplex, the digital assistant Tiān Māo (from China) can make calls on behalf of the user. Above all, RPA is known for its ability to automate (repetitive, manual) processes in the company.
How does it work? – I have already implemented dozens of automations in controlling/accounting during my professional career as an IT manager, initially for widely used Excel applications. Even beginners can automate recurring work steps in MS Excel with macro recording; if rules are required, Excel also offers the possibility to design complex workflows with macro programming (using the programming language VBA), including access to diverse data sources. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can be understood – in simplified terms – as such macro programming:
Here, too, the RPA applications have kind of a Desktop Recording, so that a work process can be recorded and later executed automatically. RPA goes beyond this, of course; with graphical user interfaces (comparable to Microsoft Visio, for example), flowcharts can be created that are then executed automatically. RPA can therefore be described as programming a (software) robot. Well-known RPA providers are UIPath, Automation Anywhere, Blue Prism. In a blog post (alas, in German), I recently presented a book that looks at the use of RPA in the finance/controlling sector. The authors state: “Company representatives now believe that finance processes will be well over 80 per cent automated and digitised in 5 to 10 years through new technologies such as RPA.” (S. 2). A powerful technology, quite obviously.
In this blog, I will now present 7 exciting RPA start-ups from across Europe. Have fun browsing!
The young company from Poland is not only a tool developer, but also a Consulting and Service company focused on automation: The company analyses with its customers which processes can be automated and finally accompanies the roll-out process. For example, the company offers targeted webinars to show which processes can be automated in specific company areas: HR, finance / controlling and others. Incidentally, the company does not only speak of RPA, but also of RDA: Robotic Desktop Automation.
Foundation in 2017. In Warsaw / Poland. Website: www.automade.com
That’s the Claim of the Start-Up: „We automate your boring, repetitive Office Tasks”. Here, very simple document processing steps can be automated, such as the preparation of Excel files. These are so-called “generic” automation routines; there is an extensive library for this. There are also customised automation routines, such as the creation of a specific report.
To use a robot, the start-up has established the following process: There is a specific email address for each (generic or customised) automation routine: You send a file (that needs to be edited, for example) to this email and then receive the result. Advantage: Suppliers, customers and the like can also use this robot, so cross-company processes can also be automated. It is also clear that this approach not only brings advantages, but also has its limitations.
Young as the company is, it has already been bought by a New York investment firm, namely Autokatalyst. Purchase sum: unknown.
Foundation in 2019. In Munich. Website: www.officebots.io
The mission of the Romanian start-up Tailent is to make RPA accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Remarkable: Attractively designed website. And not least from the testimonials of the company’s customers, it is clear that Tailent’s pricing is SME-oriented. Here is the testimonial of Catalin Profir, CEO and Co-Founder of encorsa:
Collaborating with Tailent gives us access to a solid technology, built with dedication to the mid-market segment, but also very advantageous from a financial point of view. We can integrate this technology into packages that bring more agility, flexibility and creativity to the work of companies that want to accelerate their digital transformation, as well as easier scalability of projects as the business grows.
Foundation in 2016. In Romania. Website: www.tailent.com
The start-up Roboyo is a remarkable success story. It is the world’s largest provider of intelligent automation services, with a presence in 10 countries. The company does not develop its own robots, but advises companies on automation and works with RPA providers such as UI Path, BluePrism, AutomationAnywhere and others. Der Claim: ”We bring together strategists, technologists, business analysts and six sigma belt wearers of every color.”
Many Fortune 500 companies are part of the client portfolio, as well as the majority of DAX companies. In 2021, the young company was awarded the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Award, which recognises 50 growth champions in the tech industry.
Foundation in 2015. In Nuremberg / Germany. Website: www.roboyo.de
Incidentally, anyone who follows the automation scene will notice that there is a growing number of automation technologies; the boundaries between these approaches are also blurring. In addition to RPA, one also reads about hyperautomation, no-code or low-code platforms and the like. The Danish start-up Leapwork, for example, classifies itself as a visual, no-code automation platform. The focus here is also: The automation of business processes.
The start-up has already closed a Series B financing (August 2021). The company has raised approximately 72 million US dollars to date. The company’s valuation is a whopping 312 million US dollars.
The Claim: 97% Productivity gains. 90% reduction in application errors. Less than 10 minutes to build a flow.
Foundation in 2015. In Denmark. Website: www.leapwork.com
And here is another start-up from Wales / Great Britain: Again, the company already sees itself “beyond RPA”: “Toca is a single integrated no-code apps & automation fabric that extends beyond traditional RPA, integration and low-code development platforms”.
Foundation in 2018. In Berkshire / UK. Website: www.toca.io
Last but not least, a company founded by Stefan Groschupf from Halle. This company history is also a lesson about the attractiveness of Germany and Europe as a business location. The company of the (German) founder of the series has its headquarters in the USA, though developers in Berlin and Halle.
For the software to automate tasks and processes, Stefan Groschupf raised about 13 million euros.
Foundation in 2017. By Stefan Groschupf (born in Halle / Germany). Website: www.automationhero.ai
Promising StartUps in other industries and areas
- 7 promising German start-ups in Cloud Computing
- 7 promising start-ups in the automotive industry
- 7 promising start-ups about the Factory 4.0
- 7 promising German StartUps in Marketing
- 7 promising German StartUps in the Health Industry
- 7 promising German StartUps in Logistics
- 7 promising German Start-Ups in Clean Energy & Eco Tech
- 7 promising German Start-Ups in Cyber Security