Bots in the cubicles
Sometimes, today’s buzzwords will remain just that. But sometimes they amount to something.
Consider Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, which refers to using software “bots” to accomplish routine tasks like forms processing, HR tasks, and data entry at corporations.
In early 2017 we noticed a massive uptick in chatter around RPA using the Trends Analysis tool in our platform. We also saw deals into RPA startups accelerating. We published a research brief spotlighting the surge of interest in Robotic Process Automation for our clients in July 2017 and followed up with more coverage the next month.
Partnerships proliferated. In December 2017, IBM partnered with RPA startup Blue Prism to offer automation services to clients.
Earnings call mentions of RPA peaked in the first quarter of this year as execs talked RPA up as a way to boost efficiency and profit.
Fast forward to this week, and we saw a little-known RPA company out of San Jose, California suddenly raise a $250M round from NEA, Goldman Sachs, and General Atlantic, among other investors, vaulting to unicorn status at a $1.8B valuation.
RPA is now being actively deployed by a diverse set of large companies. These include Moody’s Corporation, Walgreens, Houghton Mifflin, SunTrust Banks, and insurer Argo Group, among others.
Meanwhile more hyped trends like enterprise blockchain? ...let’s just say I’m getting high from all the vaporware fumes at this point.
Paging Dr. Google
With its PillPack acquisition, Amazon is just the latest tech giant to get into the healthcare space — Google's already been there for a while.
Betting that the future of healthcare will be defined by AI, Google is expanding across areas ranging from diagnostics to medical devices to population health analysis and more. Download the slides and recording for our "Google In Healthcare" briefing here.
Sea to shining sea
We mapped out the most well-funded startups in each state, from giants like Uber in California to smaller players like Alaska's Resource Data. Check out the top dog in your home state here.
Have a great rest of the week.
P.S. For more on earnings transcripts, check out our FAMGA Earnings Transcript Report and our Automakers Earnings Transcript Analysis.
P.P.S. To view our Collection of RPA companies, sign up for a CB Insights trial here.
This week in data:
- $250M: Software startup Automation Anywhere raised a $250M Series A to reach a $1.8B valuation, becoming the latest company to join our unicorn list. The mega-round was backed by New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, General Atlantic, and World Innovation Lab. The San Jose-based startup offers robotic process automation, or software “robots” that automate routine business processes. Our automation report looks at the 10 million jobs at high risk of automation, including white collar jobs, and analyzes which sectors face the biggest threats. Check it out.
- $16B: San Francisco-based e-cigarette company JUUL is reportedly looking to raise a $1.2B financing round at a $16B valuation. JUUL last raised funding in December 2017, when it brought in $111.5M at a $10B valuation. The company, which says it wants to eliminate traditional cigarettes, hopes to use its newest funding to expand beyond Israel and the US. We covered the challenges JUUL is posing to incumbent tobacco companies in a recent client note. Clients can log in and read here.
- 78,000: Malware that injects fraudulent ads into websites has been downloaded 78,000 times by Fortnite players, according to a blog post by Rainway CEO Andrew Sampson. The virus came in the form of a bot that allowed players to download free V-bucks (Fortnite’s in-game currency). According to Sampson, Rainway reported the rogue malware to the service provider that hosted it, and it has subsequently been removed. Malware is just one of many types of cyber attacks to watch out for in the digital age. Our report on the Future of Information Warfare covers more, from fake media, to computational propaganda, to weaponized memes.
1st: Seattle just became the first major US city to ban plastic straws and utensils in bars and restaurants. Failure to comply may incur a fine of up to $250, though officials say the initial phase of the ban is primarily to raise awareness about environmentally-friendly practices. According to Strawless Ocean, an estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have some kind of plastic in their stomachs. Seattle’s ban aims to reduce plastic waste-caused mortality in marine life. With green practices and clean tech emerging as an area to watch in the energy sector, check out the slides and recording for our Emerging Trends in Energy briefing here.
- 10 years: According to a new paper published in JAMA Internal Medicine magazine, drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of early death. Researchers noted reduced premature mortality risk for coffee drinkers regardless of how much coffee they drank or whether the coffee was filtered, instant, and/or decaffeinated. The study followed about 500,000 people over the course of 10 years to track their health. BTW, if you’re drinking a cup of coffee in the US, there’s a good chance it’s produced by JAB Holdings. The secretive German firm is snatching up US coffee servers, from Caribou to Keurig. Read more.
- 7 months: After joining Google in November, Google Cloud COO Diane Bryant is leaving the company, only seven months into the job. Prior to joining Google, Bryant spent 25 years at Intel, where she was considered one of the company’s top 3 executives. The reasons for Bryant’s departure are unclear, though some news outlets are speculating her resignation comes in anticipation of a new opportunity at Intel, which is currently seeking a new CEO. Stay current on the top trends in the cloud computing space by checking out all our cloud computing research, and tune into our briefing on Google's Expansion in Telecom on Wednesday (July 11).
- 74 hotdogs: In less healthy food and beverage news, competitive eater Joey Chestnut broke his own record yesterday at Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest, wolfing down 74 hotdogs in just 10 minutes. His feast clocks in at about 22,200 calories, and Chestnut will take home $10,000 for his victory. For a peek at the future of hotdog-eating, check out our Meatless Technology Report, which features lab-grown meat, insect protein, and more.