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Robotic process firm UiPath worth $7B after investment

(Bloomberg) --UiPath, a closely held New York-based software maker that helps companies automate routine processes, said it’s valued at $7 billion following a new funding round.

Coatue Management led the $568 million investment. Coatue was joined by Dragoneer Investment Group, Wellington Management, Sands Capital and funds managed by T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. Previous investors, including Accel Partners, CapitalG, Sequoia, IVP and Madrona Venture Group, also participated, UiPath said.

The company, which was founded in Romania in 2005, said it has grown rapidly in the past two years, expanding its annual recurring revenue to more than $200 million from $8 million and employing more than 2,500 people. UiPath has more than 400,000 users, with customers including Duracell, McDonald’s Corp., Nippon Life Insurance Company, NTT Communications Corp. and the U.S. Navy.

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A sample of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) computer code is displayed on a monitor for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. JSON is a lightweight data-interchange format. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

UiPath’s software performs many low-skilled tasks that businesses once outsourced to humans in cheaper-wage countries such as India or the Philippines. Known as “robotic process automation,” the technique uses software to take over repetitive, routine data entry and processing tasks.

“Business leaders everywhere are augmenting their workforces with software robots,” Daniel Dines, UiPath’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

UiPath’s software initially worked much like the “macros” found in programs like Microsoft Corp.’s Excel spreadsheet software. It could copy a series of steps performed by a human and then repeat them -- making it much easier to move data from one database or field to another and complete routine tasks, such as issuing invoices or making accounting entries.

More recently, the company has added machine-learning modules capable of image recognition to its software.

UiPath competes with other software vendors such as Pegasystems Inc., Blue Prism Group Plc, Kofax, and Automation Anywhere Inc.

“The industry has achieved rapid growth in such a short time, with UiPath at the head of it,” said Greg Dunham, vice president at T. Rowe Price Associates.