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Romania-born UiPath raises €623M at €29 billion valuation; prepares for IPO

Robots are here to stay. The more you learn about their potential, the faster it’ll help your business to grow. And this is exactly what this Romania-born company UiPath has been doing. It develops robotic process automation and artificial intelligence software. In a recent development, the company has announced that it has raised $750M (approx €623.2M) in its Series F round of funding at a valuation of $35B (approx €29B).

Investors in this round

The round was co-led by existing investors Alkeon Capital and Coatue. While existing investors also participated in this round including Altimeter Capital, Dragoneer, IVP, Sequoia, Tiger Global, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc.

Abhi Arun, Managing Partner at Alkeon Capital, says, “Automation has become a strategic imperative that is fundamentally changing the way organisations operate. We are excited to co-lead this round of funding, as well as continue to team up with the UiPath team during an important phase for the company.”

What does UiPath aim to achieve?

UiPath was founded in 2005 as a 10-people team based in Bucharest, led by Daniel Dines. Initially, it outsourced automation libraries and software to some of the world’s biggest companies.

Marius Tîrcă joined the company in 2004 as a software engineer, according to his Linkedin profile. He is currently the co-founder & CTO of UiPath. 

UiPath is on a mission to unlock human creativity and ingenuity by enabling the fully automated enterprise and empowering workers through automation.

“Bill Gates used to talk at Microsoft about a computer in every home. I want a robot for every person,” says Daniel Dines.

The company designs and develops robotic process automation software. It offers foolproof development tools, automation of intricate processes, enhanced control, cloud and on-premise deployment, robust governance, and multiple robots on a single virtual machine. 

The company moved its headquarters to New York in 2017 so that it could be closer to its international customer base. 

Currently based in New York, the company claims it Automation Platform is designed to transform the way humans work, providing customers with a vast set of capabilities to discover automation opportunities and build, manage, run, engage, measure, and govern automation across departments within an organisation.

Source: SiliconCanals.com

Life is Hard buys Romanian e-commerce firm Innobyte Solutions; stock price soars

Romanian software developer Life is Hard [listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange: LIH] will propose to its shareholders to approve the takeover of local e-commerce solutions developer Innobyte Solutions.

Shareholders will be asked to approve the deal at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for February 24, Life is Hard said in a statement filed with the Bucharest Stock Exchange, BVB.

The value of the planned transaction was not disclosed.

Following the deal, Life is Hard aims to complement its portfolio with web development services tailored for small and medium-sized companies, it added. 

The two companies are now in the due-diligence period, during which they will define the terms of the transaction.

Founded in 2009 in Bucharest, Innobyte Solutions posted a turnover of 1.8 million euro ($2.18 million) in 2020. The company is owned by Romanian entrepreneurs Catalin Somfalean and Catalin Bordei.

Life is Hard was established in 2004 in the northwestern city of Cluj and is listed on the alternative trading system of Bucharest Stock Exchange, AeRO. Romanian entrepreneur Ioan-Catalin Chis is its majority shareholder with 62.8%, while general manager Erik Barna holds 13.05%. The remainder is owned by various legal entities and individuals.

Source: SEENews

Romanian Tellence Technologies to hire more than 100 and open 3 new offices in Iasi, Timisoara, and Cluj

Bucharest-based software solutions and services provider Tellence Technologies plans to open offices in Iasi, Timisoara, and Cluj this year, the company announced.

The opening of the new offices will generate more than 100 job opportunities in various software technologies.

"We are confident in the plan to increase our activities, including in the big cities of Romania. This strategy aims to capitalize on local talent, especially in important universities. We have already started recruiting programmers in Iasi, Timisoara, and Cluj. Tellence continues its expansion plans in 2021, with projects that will generate over 100 new job opportunities for specialists in various software technologies," said Leo Radu, general manager and co-founder of Tellence.

Established in 2012 and headquartered in Bucharest, Tellence Technologies offers software services for telecommunications, cybersecurity, media, automotive, satellite communications, semiconductors, and other sectors.

The current context offers opportunities for IT companies that want to expand their business and facilitates remote working conditions for employees, the company said.

Source: Romania Insider

US-based ThoughtWorks buys Romanian software developer Gemini Solutions

US-based global technology company ThoughtWorks said that it has agreed to acquire Romanian software development and consulting services firm Gemini Solutions for an undisclosed sum.

This acquisition is expected to significantly improve ThoughtWorks' ability to support and service clients, especially in Europe, the Chicago-based company said in a press release.

The transaction is expected to close in early February, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions. 

The Gemini Solutions team will provide nearshore support for ThoughtWorks’ clients in the UK and Germany as well as continued support for existing clients in North America, France and Germany.

Serban Tir, previously the chief technology officer of Gemini Solutions, will serve as general manager of ThoughtWorks Romania.

"The team will form a key part of ThoughtWorks’ global as well as European expansion plans. We have been seeking a premium partner to help increase our nearshore delivery capability and capacity especially in Europe and Gemini Solutions is a strong fit," ThoughtWorks president and CEO Guo Xiao said.

Gemini Solutions was founded in 2005 in San Francisco by Romanian entrepreneurs Theo Nissim and Florin Parlea, a group of Silicon Valley Romanian technologists. The company's main activity is in Romania, where it has over 170 team members working in offices located in Bucharest, Cluj and lasi.

Founded in 1993, ThoughtWorks currently provides software design and delivery, and tools and consulting services through 43 offices in 14 countries. 

Source: SEENews

Booksy: The Polish ‘Uber of beauty and wellness’ scoops £51M, plans UK expansion

Booksy, an appointment booking app for the beauty and wellness industry, has recently secured a $70 million (approx £51 million) funding in the Series C round. 

The round was led by Cat Rock Capital, with participation from other investors like Sprints Capital, OpenOcean, Piton Capital, VNV Global, Enern, Kai Hansen, Zach Coelius, and Manta Ray Ventures.

The funding will be used to support fast-paced expansion plans across North America, the UK, and other markets as well. In the UK, the company plans to continue taking on the likes of Treatwell.

“At Booksy, our mission is to bring peace of mind to scheduling, giving time back for living life fully,” said founder and CEO Stefan Batory. This latest round of funding enables us to reach even more salons and service providers across the US, and in all the regions we operate, which in turn helps them reach more customers.”

Marketplace for scheduling and managing appointments 

Founded by Polish serial entrepreneurs Stefan Batory and Konrad Howard in 2014, Booksy is the beauty marketplace for finding, scheduling, and managing appointments. 

The platform allows users to automatically schedule at a time that suits them, resulting in 38% of customers booking after-hours and increasing appointment frequency by 20%, generating more revenue for the service provider. 

Source: UKTech.news

Grass Valley to build new Centre of Excellence in Poland

Company has undergone a strategic review which it says identified a "pressing need for technology vendors to adapt to a shift in customer buying patterns from hardware to software solutions."

Grass Valley has announced plans to build a new centre of excellence in Warsaw, Poland as it undergoes a company-wide transformation.

The new CoE will combine with the company’s existing CoE in Montreal, Canada as well as an expanded team in Malaysia.

To optimise manufacturing efficiency, Grass Valley said it intends to consolidate hardware manufacturing capabilities across its product portfolio. The company will also improve business efficiency by streamlining and reducing the overall number of facilities it operates, keeping customer-facing resources close to where its customers work and live, and enabling its teams to work remotely.

The plans follow a strategic review of Grass Valley as a standalone company which is says identified how accelerated change and disruption in the media industry has created a pressing need for technology vendors to adapt to a shift in customer buying patterns from hardware to software solutions.

“Our industry is changing, and digital transformation is upon us,” said Tim Shoulders, CEO and president of Grass Valley. “At Grass Valley, we’ve listened to our customers and believe we must reimagine our business to remain their partner of choice as they navigate the dynamic marketplace and meet their evolving needs. To be the industry-leading, cloud-first solutions provider, we have created a bold plan that enables us to continue supporting our customers wherever they are based and whatever products and services they rely on.”

Source: TVB Europe

Ohio-based Hyland Software fires nearly 150 employees, will hire in Poland and India

Ohio-based Hyland Software, a perennial "top workplace" in Northeast Ohio, has laid off nearly 150 employees in its product delivery department. The mass axing "came out of left field," according to a former employee, and was communicated to unsuspecting remote workers in a pre-recorded Zoom message Wednesday morning.  

The layoffs reduce the department by an estimated 1/8th, with software developers, quality assurance specialists and testing engineers all unceremoniously getting the boot. Hyland is seen as a "shining star" among tech companies headquartered in Northeast Ohio, (a region which desperately wants to become an innovation hub), but the layoffs yesterday confirmed for many current and former employees that the company's corporate values are waning, its #hylandlife reputation souring.  

"This has shaken up the culture of Hyland and absolutely compromised our trust in the company," one employee said. They and others said the company was coming off a record profit year. 

Hyland has not yet responded to multiple requests for comment, but the Mayor of the City of Westlake, Dennis Clough, issued a brief statement. 

“The City of Westlake has been told by Hyland Software that the company is in the middle of a restructure but is doing well overall," it read. "The city extends best wishes to the employees who were informed that their jobs would be eliminated.” 

*Update: Hyland sent the following statement Thursday evening. 

"Hyland is in the midst of a multi-year strategic initiative to build a cloud-first platform for the future while supporting our customers’ success today. A component of this strategy is to hire more than 300 additional technologists and increase our overall employee count by 15 percent in 2021. As we focus on innovating our platform and strategically expanding our global footprint, we have made the difficult decision to eliminate some positions on our current Product Delivery team. We are providing affected employees with assistance in their transitions." 

Current and former employees who spoke to Scene anonymously said that the layoffs felt like a betrayal, especially after Hyland has invested considerable financial resources into HR and marketing to create a corporate brand that emphasizes a "family" culture. CEO Bill Priemer joined Hyland as the VP of Marketing in 1997 and touted the "family" dynamic of Hyland in a recent local magazine profile

For employees within the large product delivery department, two Zoom meetings were announced Wednesday morning with the vague header "Product Delivery Update." Those who were given a link to a 10 a.m. meeting were greeted with a pre-recorded message from Hyland's Chief Product Officer John Phelan giving them the bad news. 

The 10:30 a.m. folks were also greeted with a scripted message. It assured them that their positions were safe but noted that a restructuring was afoot. This would include, among other things, local layoffs and a significant ramping up of workforces overseas at Hyland's offices in both India and Poland. 

Over the past 24 hours, employees — virtually all of whom have been working from home during the pandemic — have experienced a "collective freak-out," said one employee. They are scrambling to figure out new responsibilities on existing projects with the realization that massive workloads loom, all while trying to delicately ascertain who was "separated," the preferred lingo of Hyland HR. 

One employee noted to Scene that while "ethics" was removed from Hyland's core values in 2020, "family" still remains. ("We care deeply for one another and help each other achieve maximum personal potential while maintaining a healthy work-life balance," the Family entry on Hyland's core values page reads.) It was in that spirit that multiple employees reached out to Scene to decry what they viewed as a rotten way to part with their colleagues, many of whom had been at Hyland for 10 or more years. 

"Hyland has been acquiring companies left and right for the past few years, making money hand over fist for its majority owner [the private equity firm Thoma Bravo]," one former employee said. "And with acquisitions, you always suspect that people will be let go. It's unrealistic to expect otherwise. But it's the method that has people spooked. You might expect this at a GE, but not at a company with humble beginnings like Hyland." 

The lack of clear communication from Hyland leadership has led to rampant speculation and conspiracy theorizing. Back in June, 2020, CEO Bill Priemer announced that due to Covid cost-cutting measures, employees wouldn't be able to roll over vacation time from 2020 to 2021. Did he know that layoffs would be forthcoming? 

The most common view, employees said, was that Hyland simply made the decision to save money. After all, software developers in Katowice, Poland, make, on average, less than half the annual salary of developers in Cleveland. (Though the office scuttlebutt holds that, relative to other local tech companies, Hyland's programmers and engineers are criminally underpaid.) 

"From a numbers stand point, maybe it makes sense," one current employee said. "I guess you'd expect a company to look out for its own bottom line over its employees. But you have to understand, Hyland's whole thing is that we're not a company. We're a family. Well, we got screwed." 

Source: Cleveland Scene

BUSINESS Oradea City Hall earmarks EUR 0.3 mln per year for tech hub development

Oradea Tech Hub, a hub dedicated to technology startups in the northwestern part of the country, launched at the end of last year a pre-acceleration program called Make IT in Oradea.

The program has an annual budget of EUR 300,000, of which 80% will finance projects with growth potential.

The Oradea City Hall provides the EUR 300,000 budget and has committed to offering this amount annually

"We want to emphasize the uniqueness of this program because it is a premiere in Romania for a city hall to invest in the ecosystem of startups at this level. The first initiative of the program is the Bright Labs startup incubator," David Achim, executive director at Oradea Tech Hub, told Ziarul Financiar.

The organization also published Oradea Startups Report 2020 - the first report of this kind produced to display the dynamics of the technology startup ecosystem in Oradea and the 22 active startups in the ecosystem.

"Through this report, we want to encourage the development of new startups, attracting talent and, last but not least, investors. We want all 22 active startups in the ecosystem at the moment to be successful. The best known of them at the moment would be Bannersnack, Flipsnack, Paymo, TypingDNA, and Appointfix," said Achim in September at the event dedicated to the report.

Oradea Tech Hub was set up in May 2015, when a group of businessmen in the IT sector (but not only) from Oradea decided to create an organization to develop and unite the community of technology enthusiasts in the region.

(Photo: Sarayut Thaneerat/ Dreamstime)


Source: Romania Insider

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