Eniac invests in FortressIQ to lead the robotic process automation revolution
By nihal mehta, Founding General Partner
The world is falling in love with “sexy” robotic process automation (RPA) startups. Last month, UiPath raised a whopping $265M Series C at a $3B valuation — then just a day later, Automation Anywhere announced a $300M round from Softbank’s Vision Fund at a $2.6B valuation. And it’s no surprise why — the future of work is with AI.
While at TED this past Spring, we attended a powerful talk by Kai Fu Lee, where he spoke on his predictions that within the next 10 years, 50% of jobs will be controlled by AI and automation. Instead of the doomsday image, he discussed that AI will take over the decision engine, a job that far exceeds human capabilities. Examples he uses are being able to recognize three million data points at one time or dispensing a loan in 8 seconds. But Kai Fu Lee is adamant that this will be for the good of the population and nothing will ever replace human-to-human interaction. He points out that the Age of AI is here to free us from the mundane and allows humans to focus on the aspect of jobs it can’t — thinking with creativity and compassion.
My partners and I have been excited about robot process automation and AI as “augmented intelligence” space for a while, and have been investors in one of the leading companies for the past year: FortressIQ. And today, they are stepping out of stealth mode with the announcement of their $12 million Series A, led by our friends at Lightspeed Venture Partners. This round follows the Seed funding Eniac lead in 2017 along with Boldstart and Comcast.
FortressIQ stood out to us, not only for their cognitive automation platform that harnesses AI, machine learning and computer vision but really because of founder and CEO, Pankaj Chowdhry. Pankaj believes in the power of automation at scale and that algorithms and bots work best when they’re managed like employees — with the right toolset and clear standards. And Pankaj is no stranger to building a fast-growth company, he sold his last business Third Pillar Systems to Genpact ($2.6B ARR). One archetype of an Eniac founder is that they’ve done it before- either failed or had a small taste of success- and in the next go-around the founder’s “muscle memory” enables them to go even further.
In just over a year, FortressIQ has made waves. They’re working with multiple Fortune 100 companies, helping automate commoditized human-based workflows like data entry and typing in spreadsheets. The best part is this is just the beginning.
Founder and CEO, Pankaj Chowdhry: “After speaking with hundreds of companies it became clear that the dollars being wasted on process assessments and documentation are a ‘tax on innovation,’ siphoning dollars from transformation initiatives. To address this grim reality, we’re delivering on the promise of cognitive automation with the GA release of our platform, putting us in a strong position to build on the sales momentum and traction we’re already experiencing with Fortune 500 companies.”
We’re excited to support Pankaj and his team for the next phase of the journey, leading the RPA revolution!
Check out their coverage in TechCrunch:
FortressIQ raises $12M to bring new AI twist to process automation.