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UiPath IPO: 5 things to know about the ‘software robots’ company valued at nearly $30 billion

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UiPath Inc. is launching its initial public offering at a valuation close to what it received from venture-capital investors, with help from automation it cheerfully calls “software robots.”

UiPath
PATH
makes software that helps automate business tasks, and sets itself apart from rivals by allowing employees without coding experience to customize artificial-intelligence capabilities.

“Traditional automation solutions intended to reduce this friction have generally been designed to be used by developers and engineers, rather than the employees directly involved in executing the actual work being automated,” the company said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Our platform leverages the power of artificial intelligence, or AI, based computer vision to enable our software robots to perform a vast array of actions as a human would when executing business processes,” the company said. “These actions include, but are not limited to, logging into applications, extracting information from documents, moving folders, filling in forms, and updating information fields and databases.”

Late Tuesday, UiPath priced its IPO at $56 a share, raising more than $1.3 billion and giving the company an initial market capitalization of $29.1 billion, which is less than the self-valuation of $35 billion following a $750 million round of venture funding on Feb. 1. It’s expected to begin trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “PATH.”

UiPath originally filed for its IPO on March 26 with plans to raise up to $1 billion. The company stuck to its plans for an IPO as other companies like Squarespace Inc., Coinbase Global Inc.
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Roblox Inc.
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and Palantir Technologies Inc.
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have opted for a direct listing instead.

The New York-based company originally said it was registering up to 24.5 million shares, at a range of $43 to $50 a share, to raise up to $1.22 billion. On Monday, it hiked the range to between $52 and $54 a share and increased the number of shares it planned to offer.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, B of A Securities, Credit Suisse, Barclays, and Wells Fargo Securities are among the underwriters.

Here are five things to know about UiPath:

The ‘humble’ company notes rapid expansion

In the S-1, UiPath Chief Executive, Chairman and co-founder Daniel Dines wrote about his company having “humility” as a core value, in that it allows its developers to listen and adapt quickly to the needs of the customer. Founded in Bucharest, Romania, in 2005, the company was incorporated in Delaware six years ago after working its way up from “10 people in an apartment in Romania,” Dines wrote.

“We went against the rules of perfecting the business model first in one territory, and instead we rapidly expanded globally to the United States, Europe, and Asia simultaneously,” the CEO wrote in a letter.

At a current annualized renewal run rate, or ARR, of $580 million, UiPath bills itself as “one of the fastest-growing modern enterprise software companies ever.” ARR is a metric often used by software-as-a-service companies to show how much revenue the company can expect based on subscriptions.

While UiPath notes International Data Corp. sees the automation software market at $17 billion in 2020, with an expected rise to $30 billion by 2024, the company said its “fully automated enterprise” software gives it a current market opportunity of more than $60 billion.

CEO holds most of the cards

Since 2015, UiPath has raised about $2 billion in eight funding rounds, according to Crunchbase. That funding doesn’t appear to have bought much voting power in the company, though.

UiPath’s Class B shares carry 35 votes, while Class A shares — being offered in the IPO — carry one vote. The S-1 filing revealed that CEO Dines holds 100% of the Class B shares and 6.5% of the Class A shares, for 88.1% of the voting power.

The only entity that comes close to that is venture-capital firm Accel, which began building its stake in 2017, and now claims about 101 million Class A shares, or 24% of those shares, for 3.1% of the voting power. Earlybird Management, with 9.5% of Class A shares, commands 1.2% of the votes.

The company has reined in expenses

For the fiscal year 2021 ended Jan. 30, the company booked $607.6 million in revenue for a loss of $92.4 million, compared with $336.2 million in revenue for a loss of $519.9 million in fiscal 2020. In 2018, UiPath reported fiscal 2019 revenue of $148.5 million and a loss of $261.6 million.

As revenue rose 81% for fiscal 2021, UiPath reduced sales and marketing costs by 21%, research and development costs by 16%, and general and administrative expenses by 10%.

No specific plans for the funds

If underwriters exercise all option for shares in the offering, UiPath expects to bring in net proceeds of about $1.34 billion, based on a $56 stock price. With about $357.7 million in ready cash on the books as of Jan. 31, the company isn’t earmarking raised capital for any specific use.

“As of the date of this prospectus, we cannot specify with certainty all of the particular uses for the net proceeds to us from this offering,” the company said in its April 19 filing. “However, we currently intend to use the net proceeds we receive from this offering for general corporate purposes, including working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures.”

COVID-19 boosted diverse customer base

As of Jan. 31, the company claimed having nearly 8,000 customers, with 63% of the those in the Fortune Global 500. About 1,000 of those customers account for more than $100,000 in ARR apiece, UiPath said. The company highlighted such customers as Adobe Inc.
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Applied Materials Inc.
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Chevron Corp.
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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
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,
CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.
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CVS Health Corp.
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and Uber Technologies Inc.
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That’s compared with the 700-or-so customers the company claimed in 2018.

The company’s current customer base is spread out enough where one customer can’t upset revenue significantly. “No customer or channel partner accounted for more than 10% of our revenue for the year-ended January 31, 2021,” according to the S-1.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic helped. On Jan. 31, 2020, the company said it had about 6,000 customers, so during the year of the pandemic alone, UiPath grew its number of customers by 33%.

“As the pandemic persisted, global demand for automation continued to accelerate as automation became essential for business execution and performance in a remote working environment,” UiPath said.

“While the pandemic may have accelerated the adoption of automation, the need for organizations to address extraordinary cost pressures, preserve and grow revenue, and adapt to ever-evolving end-customer needs illustrates the durability of the demand for digital transformation and the resilience and power of automation in even the most challenging times,” according to the company.

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