Global venture capital firm bets big on Romanian tech company

PRAGUE/FRANKFURT, April 27 (Reuters) - Romanian robotic form-scanning software company UiPath has raised $30 million in venture funding, marking one of the largest early-stage tech investments to date in Central Europe

Global venture capital firm Accel led the so-called Series A round, which included participation from previous investors Earlybird Venture Capital, Credo Ventures and Seedcamp. Earlybird and Credo have funds focused on Central Europe.

UiPath, which makes software that digitises mundane office processes such as insurance claims handling and lost credit card cancellations, increased revenue by six times during 2016, it said on Thursday without providing figures.

After just two years in the market, the company has signed up 200 customers, three-quarters of which have revenues over $10 billion and are some of the world’s biggest companies in financial services and other sectors, it said in a statement.

Its customers include German airline Lufthansa, Italian insurer Generali and Norwegian telecoms company Telenor .

“The market is interesting and the customer interest is there,” Accel partner Luciana Lixandru said in a telephone interview. “This is a nascent market many people think is set for rapid growth.”

UiPath is expanding globally in a market that could be worth an estimated $9 billion over the next seven years, Accel said.

The investment also marks a significant early stage commitment in central and southeastern Europe where a tech-savvy workforce has helped spark a start-up scene that is starting to pique more interest from Western venture capital.

In UiPath’s case, its founder and CEO, Daniel Dines, spent five years working at Microsoft Corp headquarters in Redmond, Washington, before returning to Romania to develop the product and build his own company, Lixandru said.

The company, founded in 2012, now has 150 employees. (Reporting by Michael Kahn and Eric Auchard; editing by David Clarke)