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RPA executive offers to bring automation to Manila

A Romanian lady executive believes that automation holds the key to improving labor productivity in the Philippines.  Instead of replacing workers, the robotic process automation will augment their skills and make them more efficient and productive, she says.

UiPath head of Asean region Andra Malina Platon
“The Philippines is one of the markets that we consider to be growing in the next six months to one year.  In this direction, we are going to hire local sales, pre-sales, engineers who are going to be based in Manila.  They are going to serve customers and partners in the Philippines.  And the plan for the long term is to open an office here,” says Andra Malina Platon, the 30-year-old executive in charge of the Asean market for UiPath, a leading RPA provider in the world.

“UiPath comes from ‘user interface’ and ‘path’ which means way.  We created the name because we wanted to associate the technology with the user experience that it can offer,” says Platon, who is based in Singapore, but travels to the Philippines as often as once a month, to oversee some global customers with shared service hubs in Metro Manila.  She is also recruiting a Filipino team ahead of the possible opening of an office here.

“We call our company a robotic process automation company.  Actually, it is a software that is able to automate business processes.   Generally, we associate our technology with the eyes and the hands of the humans.  So anything that a human can do on a computer, UiPath software is able to detect those movements on the computer, translate these process steps into an automated workflow.  And that would be performed by our robots,” says Platon.

UiPath, which was started in 2005 by Romanian entrepreneur Daniel Dines in Bucharest, is now a global company based in New York with 1,500 business customers and government agencies in 15 countries.

“UiPath started in 2005 in Bucharest, Romania in eastern Europe.  At that time, we were creating software libraries for developers.  So we were always a software product company.  In 2016, we moved the headquarters to New York.  Our European headquarters is in London,” says Platon.

RPA is a young segment of the technology sector, which has developed over the past couple of years.  Together with artificial intelligence, RPA supports the digital business revolution. UiPath has recently raised $153 million in series A and B funding from Accel, CapitalG, KPCB, Credo Ventures, Earlybird’s Digital East Fund and Seedcamp.  This valued the company in excess of $1.1 billion. 

“The entire RPA market has grown very fast in the last two years from the very beginning.  UiPath actually grew ahead of the market.  If you look at year-on-year growth in RPA market, UiPath grew faster because of the technology and the product.  And this will continue to happen in the next two to three years,” she says.

UiPath’s business grew 238 percent in the first half of 2018, crossing $100 million in annual recurring revenue, a key financial metric for subscription software companies. 

Platon says the company had a small team when it developed the RPA business a couple of years ago.  “At that time, we did not have finance, legal, marketing, sales operations.  So we were doing almost anything.  That was a very challenging period.  We learned to do many things.  The startup environment gave us the opportunity to learn legal part, finance, how to deal with customers, and participate in events.  We had to move very fast.  We had about 100 customers, 100 plus partners even then,” she says.

Platon says UiPath is now present in 21 cities across 15 countries.  “We have another 20 plus countries to open in.  Probably by the end of next year, we would be in about 40 countries,” she says.

The company now has more than 1,000 employees and plans to increase its employee count by an additional 50 percent by yearend. 

One of the potential markets it is looking at is the Philippines which has a thriving business process outsourcing sector.

“I started to travel to the Philippines in November last year.  Since that time, I am traveling once per month.  This is due to the fact that we have here a number of global customers who have their shared service centers.  We also started to engage with local Philippine companies and third, we have partners like Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG who are present here.  We also have some local partners like Indra and Pointwest whom we started to work with to build local capabilities for RPA,” she says.

Global customers include American Red Cross, BMW, Carlsberg, Dentsu, Fujifilm, Japan Airlines, Korea Telecom, Landmark Group, LG, Manpower, Mizuho Financial Group, NASA, Pandora, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., SMBC Group, US Department of Defense, US Department of Homeland Security and Wärtsilä.

Platon says that in the Philippines, UiPath now has customers in the BPO and insurance sectors.  

Platon says she is also in talks with some of the largest Philippine conglomerates to help automate their operations. She says this will not replace workers, but will drive efficiency and effectivity in the workplace.

Topics: Romanian lady executive , labor productivity , Andra Malina Platon , UiPath
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