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Automation startups, which help companies cut costs and improve user experience, are expected to gain further momentum in India and globally in 2021 as the economy recovers and firms return to pre-covid levels of business.

Top executives believe automation went mainstream this year and has received the right amount of attention at the C-suite level.

For California-based robotic process automation (RPA) company Automation Anywhere, the growth in its India market this year has been mainly driven by existing customers migrating to the cloud and those that have completely revisited their operating model due to the pandemic.

Also read: India’s quest to fix its payments puzzle

“Cloud lowers the cost of ownership and it prepares them for a significant scale-up when the economy recovers next year. In fact, many of the new logos we have signed up in the last 12 months have straightaway started on the cloud," said Milan Sheth, executive vice president-IMEA, Automation Anywhere.

While growth this year has been driven by the services sector related to banking, financial services & insurance, utilities and hospital management, next year it will be led by manufacturing.

“This year, the manufacturing sector focused on getting their work-from-home model in place, but as that stabilizes, next year we expect them to invest heavily in automation," said Sheth.

Automation Anywhere raised $290 million in a Series B in November last year at a post-money valuation of $6.8 billion. In July, competitor UiPath raised $225 million in a Series E round at a post-money valuation of $10.2 billion and has plans for a US initial public offering (IPO) in 2021.

According to a recent survey by Forrester Consulting on behalf of UiPath, 48% of businesses globally are planning to increase RPA spend over the next year. It also revealed that the world has seen more digital transformation in the past few months than in the preceding five years and intelligent automation technologies, including RPA, are accelerating this surge. UiPath did not comment on the story.

Mumbai-based Fractal Analytics is seeing a steep rise in business as it expects to clock 250 crore of revenue in the March quarter translating to a revenue run rate of 1,000 crore for FY21.

“As the world economy revives and digital transformation accelerates, we expect significant growth of 35% year-on-year during FY22," said Srikanth Velamakanni, co-founder, group CEO and executive vice chairman, Fractal.

Given the demand forecast, the company has major expansion plans for next year. “We are on a hiring spree. We have just crossed 2,000 people at an organizational level," said Velamakanni. It plans to hire another 500 people in the next few months including about 300 fresh recruits from campuses and about 200 laterals in various skills like data science, AI and cloud engineering.

Chennai-headquartered hyper automation services company Vuram expects to see further growth in 2021 as customers continue to prioritize their digital transformation initiatives.

“We expect investments from financial services. Any business with cash flow is going to continue to invest the money back into technology to improve their margins and efficiencies. Also, other lower-margin industries would consider prioritizing technology, especially small and medium businesses, which were probably affected a little more than the larger players," said Raghav Sriram, vice president, global sales and customer success, Vuram.

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