White Star Capital Invests in Wrk to Simplify Workforce Automation
By: Christophe Bourque, General Partner at White Star Capital & Sanjay Zimmermann, Principal at White Star Capital
Across sizes, sectors and geographies, organizations are making Intelligent Automation (IA) a core strategic priority. These technologies deliver great value through improved operational efficiency.
However, while many organizations realize the value of automation, notably with robotic process automation (RPA), most companies are facing problems implementing these technologies. Their automation efforts are often uncoordinated, unintegrated and lack prioritization. As it stands today, automation is too complex to understand, complicated to deploy, and expensive to get started — yet a 2019 study from KPMG noted that 80% of organizations have automation as a top priority.
The automation gap
In the automation market, what’s currently available are large, specialized RPA providers that offer high priced, heavy integration solutions catering to large enterprises. On the other end of the spectrum, there are application programming interface (API)-driven providers that are restricted to specific processes that can be automated via API calls.
Automation is a must-have. Yet it is too costly and complicated for most companies. Therefore, we see a tremendous opportunity for low- to no-code automation solutions that reduce the barriers to adoption and lessen the burden on in-house engineering teams.
We met the Wrk team in early 2021 as the company was just starting to go-to-market with the beta version of their product. We were immediately excited by the ambitious vision and potential of the Wrk platform. In fact, we instantly saw several great use cases within White Star for Wrk and actually became a client before becoming an investor. We quickly realized they filled an important gap in automation. It’s with that context that we are pleased to announce that we co-led Wrk’s CAD$55 million Series A round alongside OMERS Ventures. The company will use the investment to expand its team and accelerate the development of its platform.
We believe that the company’s unique, holistic and highly intuitive approach to automation will open an entirely new business segment and democratize a service that was until now only available to large corporations or developers. Without having to automate an entire organization via burdensome solutions or having to focus solely on automating clustered tasks, Wrk allows companies to think about automation in terms of business processes and bring a complex subject within reach of non-technical users.
We are also highly impressed with the team. Mohannad El-Barachi and David Li, co-founders of Wrk, both have extensive entrepreneurial and B2B experience. Mohannad also founded SweetIQ, which sold to Gannett and won the 2018 Canadian Venture Capital Association deal of the year award.
The company is capitalizing on a workforce automation market that McKinsey estimates will grow to $10 trillion by 2030. We believe they have the right, modular approach that combines a human-in-the-loop approach with APIs and bots. Their solution fills a significant market void, and we’re excited to help shepherd them along their promising path.
White Star Capital is a global multi-stage technology investment platform that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs building ambitious, international businesses. Operating out of Guernsey, New York, London, Paris, Montreal, Toronto, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, our presence, perspective, and people enable us to partner closely with our Founders to help them scale internationally from Series A onwards.