Laiye, a Chinese startup that offers robotic process automation services to several major technology companies in the nation and government agencies, raised $ 42 million in a new round of financing to scale up its business.
The new financing round, Series C, was jointly managed by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lightspeed China Partners. Cathay Innovation, who led the startup's Series B + round, and Wu Capital, who led the Series B + round, also participated in the new round.
China has been the hub for some of the cheapest labor in the world. In recent years, however, a number of companies and government agencies have started to use technology to improve their efficiency.
This is where Laiye comes in. Robot process automation (RPA) enables software to mimic various human behaviors such as keystrokes and mouse clicks.
“For example, some banks have not yet offered APIs, so people had to log in, retrieve the data, and then feed it into other software. Processes like this could be automated from our platform, ”said Arvid Wang, co-founder and co-managing director of Laiye, in an interview with theinformationsuperhighway.
The four and a half year old startup, which has raised more than $ 100 million to date, will use the fresh capital to hire talent from around the world and expand its services. "We believe that robotic process automation will reach its full potential when it combines AI and the best human talent," he said.
Laiye's announcement comes today as the robot automation process market in China is still in its early stages. There are a handful of startups dealing with this area, but Laiye, who counts Microsoft As an investor and UiPath supported by Sequoia, the two clear market leaders are currently.
As my colleague Rita Liao wrote last year, some entrepreneurs and investors in China have only recently begun to draw their attention from consumer products to business applications.
RPA has become the fastest growing market for companies worldwide. A Gartner report last year found that the RPA market grew by over 63% in 2018. Recent surveys have shown that most companies in China today are also interested in improving their RPA projects and AI skills.
Laiye today has more than 200 partners and more than 200,000 developers have registered to use its multilingual UiBot RPA platform. UiBot enables integration with Laiye and third-party native AI functions such as natural language processing, optical character recognition, computer vision, chatbot and machine learning.
"We are very optimistic about China and the opportunities there are enormous," said Lightspeed Partner Amy Wu in an interview. "Laiye is doing phenomenal there, and with this new fundraiser, they can try to expand globally," she said.