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A Memorable Milestone in our PATH!!

AUTHOR: S. Somasegar | April 21, 2021

Reflections on UiPath’s journey to IPO.

As much as success seems to happen overnight, it rarely does.  If you look at any successful company in the history of the world, there has been a long journey with many ups and downs and multiple near-death experiences before they reach a state of seemingly overnight success. Every company has its own unique story. UiPath is no different.

Daniel Dines is the Founder & CEO of UiPath.  He was an engineer in the SQL Server team at Microsoft in the early 2000s. At that time, he and I were like two souls passing each other on the Microsoft ship without being aware of each other.  Daniel decided to leave Microsoft in 2005 and go back home to Romania to start UiPath.  2015 is when UiPath found what we like to call “product-market fit” and ended up creating a new category called RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and the rest as they say is history.  Today, UiPath is one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies.

Sometimes you find yourself at the cross-roads of a secular trend, a massive new category in the making and the emergence of a team and a company that is poised to scale phenomenally well. UiPath was at that point when we invested in UiPath in the early part of 2018. Leading up to that, Daniel and I had been chatting about the fact that he was looking to build his R&D headquarters in the Seattle region (Bellevue), and we were talking specifically about a senior leadership hire that he was thinking of making. That conversation led to a whole other series of conversations and we ended up investing in UiPath in their Series C round. We continued to work closely with Daniel and his team as they built out and scaled the team, product, and business.  Along the way I introduced our own Venture Partner, Ted Kummert to Daniel to explore a leadership role in UiPath and in early 2020 Ted joined UiPath as the EVP of Products and Engineering.

The stage and valuation made the investment in 2018 a stretch for Madrona’s core investment fund which focuses on Seed and Series A stage companies.  In fact, investments like UiPath are one reason we raised our Acceleration Fund to invest in and work with companies already quickly scaling – we recently closed Madrona Fund 8 and Acceleration Fund 2.  Our conviction about the team, the opportunity, and the traction was high and continues to be so on this momentous day.

This week is another beginning for the company – and an exciting milestone – an IPO and becoming a publicly traded company (NYSE: PATH).  The IPO reflects an amazing journey for Daniel Dines and the entire UiPath team.  Over the many years of diligent work, UiPath was a key part of creating the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) category and became the market leader.  Companies and organizations around the world now can seamlessly automate repetitive tasks that significantly enhance the productivity of their valuable workforce. We believe this is just the beginning of what is possible for UiPath in the future.

The main reasons we invested in UiPath in early 2018 came down to team, technology, and the market.

  • Daniel Dines and his team had shown a tremendous amount of perseverance, persistence, and customer focus in building an automation platform that had the potential to be the leader in Process Automation that is a core part of every enterprise’s tech stack.
  • The secular trends of AI, cloud computing, focus on automation to significantly enhance productivity were all going in the same direction. We knew that the demand on using technology to automate processes and workflows in businesses and enterprises was growing at an exponential level. Particularly after companies had reached a point of diminishing returns with the cost arbitrage method, they were craving for a technology driven automation solution.
  • We knew we could be helpful on multiple fronts. One is team building particularly as UiPath was going to scale its presence in the Seattle region.  The other is using our relationship and deep connections with Microsoft, Amazon, and the other large technology platform companies to help UiPath effectively partner and scale its business.

I have had the opportunity to be a part of at-scale technology businesses and companies in my career – both at Microsoft and more recently at Madrona working with high-growth companies such as Snowflake, UiPath and the like. Here are some of my key observations and learnings from my vantage point in the UiPath journey:

  • UiPath took a bold approach of an international footprint – for its team and for its customer base right from day 1. That ended up being a fantastic differentiator for UiPath.
  • UiPath had a “land grab” approach to capture both mindshare and market share as they realized the opportunity to create and lead a new category.
  • UiPath had an amazing appetite to grow and scale. At some point in time, that became an issue as the culture had grown to “grow at all costs” and Daniel and his leadership team did a great job of shifting that to “grow in a fiscally responsible way”.
  • UiPath had a founder-led culture that was a great combination of confidence and humility. “Be bold and humble” is something that I have heard Daniel mention 100s of times during these past few years.

A hearty congratulations to everybody on the UiPath team from all of us at Madrona! Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the UiPath journey. The PATH ahead is incredible, and I am eagerly looking forward to what UiPath is going to accomplish in the coming years.

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