UiPath co-CEO Rob Enslin still sees plenty of potential despite stock turbulence

When UiPath announced in April that it was bringing on veteran enterprise executive Rob Enslin as co-CEO, it was a big surprise. UiPath had gone public the prior year, while Enslin was leaving Google Cloud after only two years, just as it was beginning to find its footing.

But at the time, UiPath faced some harsh realities in the public markets.

Perhaps that’s why co-founder and CEO Daniel Dines was ready to bring in an industry leader who understood the enterprise market. Dines led UiPath through some heady times, topping out with a private valuation of $35 billion in early 2021. At that point, the markets were strong, an IPO was in sight and the future looked bright.

But since then, the company has had to deal with a market that’s been particularly unforgiving to SaaS companies. Today, UiPath’s stock price sits around $12.60 per share, down from a 52-week high of almost $60. Its market cap has plunged to less than $7 billion, a fifth of its final private valuation.

Enslin clearly has his work cut out for him.

The co-CEO, who spent 27 years at SAP before joining Google a couple of years ago, said that he has had the privilege of working with two companies that were “defining technologies of their era.” He believes that UiPath is similarly positioned in the area of automation — and that he’s up for the challenge to help it get there.

“[When I came on board], I felt that UiPath had an opportunity to define the category of enterprise automation, and I knew that RPA would expand at some point,” he told TechCrunch.

He points to the fact that under Dines’ leadership, the company rocketed to 34.1% market share, according to Gartner data. Blue Prism, the next closest competitor, has just 9.8%, followed by Automation Anywhere with 8.5%. Unsurprisingly, UiPath’s revenue is growing much faster than competitors, with 56% growth from 2020-2021 compared to 27% for Blue Prism and just 5% for Automation Anywhere.

Gartner RPA market share leaders. UiPath leads the way with 34.1% share.

Image Credits: Gartner

In its most recent earnings report, UiPath announced $242.2 million in revenue, up 24% year over year, with ARR surpassing $1 billion. All of that is a good sign for the new co-CEO.

What’s more, Enslin believes that RPA is just the tip of the automation iceberg. RPA helps companies, particularly those with legacy systems, to automate highly mundane workflows. And while this part of the business is growing significantly, UiPath is looking to the future with adjacent technologies like process mining, which help aid in understanding how work moves through a company to find ways to automate where possible and improve the overall workflow.

He sees automation as a growing area in enterprise and he is intrigued to lead a company at the forefront of this shift.

“I felt it was a unique opportunity. And then taking a company that has crossed $1 billion to become a multibillion-dollar company, I just felt that this was an incredible opportunity,” he said.

It would seem that UiPath is well positioned to take advantage. This is especially true in a changing work environment where companies are looking for ways to do work cheaper and faster while workers are disinclined to perform tedious tasks.

Laela Sturdy, a general partner at CapitalG who invested in UiPath and still sits on the board, said the market is just getting started and she’s quite optimistic about the future.

“We strongly believe that automation is no longer a discretionary spend or a ‘nice-to-have.’ Instead, it’s a critical component of modern business. UiPath has a first-mover advantage with its end-to-end business automation platform capabilities, and there’s a massive market opportunity in front of them,” she said.

But Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, said the market is more complicated than it appears. Even though RPA and automation can potentially save companies money, something all are looking to do in uncertain economic times, corporations may feel the cheapest way to go is with the status quo.

”The number one enemy of RPA and workflow vendors is let’s just keep doing what we do — status quo. It is ugly, but it works,” Mueller said. “So you use the software you have. Do not build anything extra, even if [RPA] is a better user/customer experience, to save the expense.”

Enslin seems to recognize that, saying getting companies to value faster is more imperative than ever. “If you look at automation, there are providers that provide systems of record and systems that do a very good job of processes. The challenge is speed-to-value and business outcomes. And so I see the whole automation space as focusing on the subprocesses to optimize subprocesses and drive business outcomes as fast as possible,” he said.

In addition, he wants to move UiPath beyond pure RPA, a solution that has always felt like a stop-gap measure to get some level of automation inside a company without ripping and replacing older systems to make it happen.

“I would say repositioning UiPath moving forward is really important. What UiPath does today is exceptionally good. To get to 10,300 customers in the period of time that UiPath got them, that’s pretty exceptional,” he said.

But he sees this as a starting point for a company that’s already surpassed $1 billion in recurring revenue.

“When I look at the world of enterprise automation, I see discovery as a key pillar. I see the world of low-code, no-code … workflow as a key part of that with UI, API and AI as a key cornerstone of being able to discover and understand where the processes need optimization, and then fulfilling that with AI, UI and API technology around RPA is fundamentally important,” he said.

As a big part of this shift to more general automation, UiPath in August acquired Re:infer, a London-based natural language processing startup that helps push the company further into pure AI while giving it the opportunity to understand chat and text-based interactions.

While this is a company that should thrive regardless of economic conditions, the market continues to hammer UiPath. Enslin can’t ignore that, but he still needs to push through. He said that in the end, you have to control what you can and not worry about the rest.

“UiPath got to $1 billion really fast, which is amazing, incredible. And now we need to focus on sustainable growth and being a growth company while also driving profit. And we’ve committed to do that. Then the markets will take care of the markets, and over time, markets are built for the long term.

“In any case, you don’t run a company on short-term cycles. You only run the company for the long term. And that’s what we’re doing.”