12 automation start-ups bringing everyday tasks into the 21st century

4 days ago

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Automation start-ups on both sides of the Atlantic, including Dublin players Tines and Webio, are changing the way we do business.

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Since the onset of the pandemic, digital transformation has been top of the agenda for many business leaders trying to recover from the disruption or to capitalise on unexpected opportunities that have emerged.

Driving some of this change is automation technology, which is shaking up the way businesses manage their priorities, from everyday tasks such as finance and workflows to more specific use cases.

Here, we take a closer look at 12 start-ups from Europe and North America that are gaining attention and VC interest for the unique problems they are looking to solve with automation.

Airbank

A finance management platform designed to save small and medium-sized businesses time and money, Airbank provides services such as tracking cash flow, automating payments, handling expenses and accelerating accounting.

The aim is to replace old finance management systems that require manual, repetitive work with technology that could simplify and streamline the process with a few clicks. Headquartered in Berlin, Airbank raised $20m in a Series A round led by Molten Ventures earlier this month.

AirSlate

Valued at $1.25bn after a $51.5m funding round announced last week, this Boston-headquartered workflow automation company is rapidly expanding its technology to allow users to get more productivity from their business documents and data.

Co-founded in 2008 by CEO Borya Shakhnovich, AirSlate now serves more than 100m users with its SaaS-based document automation platform that spans electronic signature, PDF editing, document management and a host of no-code workflow automation services.

CloudNC

London-based CloudNC is an advanced software company that is helping to autonomously manufacture precision parts for the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics and defence sectors.

Users of CloudNC’s technology can upload a 3D model of any part and, with one click, the software autonomously determines the tools needed and how they will be used. It then drafts the code to tell a computer numerical control (CNC) machine how to make it.

The company announced earlier this week that it raised $45m in a Series B round led by Autodesk, with backing from Lockheed Martin, British Patient Capital and Atomico.

Diabeloop

Diabeloop is on a mission to make life easier for patients with type 1 diabetes by automating treatment.

The French medtech has developed a self-learning algorithm that embeds therapeutic artificial intelligence to pick up blood sugar readings from a connected continuous glucose monitor every five minutes. It then analyses the data to determine an ideal insulin dosage, factoring in the user’s physiology, medical history, recent meals and exercise, automatically sending its resulting dosage calculations to an insulin pump.

The company raised €70m recently in a Series C round led by LBO France to roll out its tech globally.

Findable

One of the youngest companies on this list, Findable is a Norwegian SaaS start-up that is trying to bring the building documentation process to the 21st century. Its platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate document workflows for building owners, operators and general contractors to reduce manual work.

Founded in 2020 in Oslo, Findable raised €2m in a seed funding round earlier this month.

Middesk

Middesk is a business identity platform that provides tools, data and documents to banks, insurers, credit card companies and other lenders to automate the onboarding process. Its platform aims to speed up the identification of businesses in the US, providing financial companies with a complete and up-to-date profile.

Based in San Francisco, Middesk customers include Plaid, Affirm, Bluevine and Novo, as well as several large banks and lenders. It raised $57m in a Series B round earlier this month.

Next Matter

Another Berlin-based automation company, Next Matter has just raised $16m in Series A funding to expand its fully remote team.

The start-up has created an end-to-end operations automation and orchestration platform, connecting a businesses’ operations across departments. It does so by integrating with a company’s existing tech stack and tools such as HubSpot, Slack and Zapier.

Founded in 2018 by CEO Jan Hugenroth, Next Matter is now focusing its attention on the US, where a third of its customers are based.

Opply

This UK start-up led by CEO Helen Murphy is helping consumer brands and suppliers save time and money by automating the supply chain process using machine learning technology.

London-based Opply, which recently raised $4m in seed funding, has developed a platform that covers everything from sourcing and simplified workflows to payments systems. It is used by brands such as food supplier Bold Bean Co and experimental vinegar company Acid League.

Orna

Orna is a Canadian AI platform that has developed a security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) platform to help SMEs detect and respond to cyberattacks in real time. The company’s AI engine uses neuro-linguistic programming to collate data and generate detailed attack and incident-specific tasks for every stakeholder across not only IT, but legal, executive, HR and communications teams.

Founded by Logan Wolfe, Jana Krioukov and Martyn Gill, Orna raised $1m in seed funding earlier this month. It is now targeting an $80m valuation and a larger Series A round within the next 15 months.

Papercup

Backed by Stripe’s John Collison and Intercom’s Des Traynor, Papercup is an AI dubbing company on a mission to make the world’s video content watchable in any language. Through its machine learning platform, the London-based start-up helps automate large parts of dubbing, making video localisation accessible to content owners looking to expand globally.

Papercup recently raised $20m in Series A financing led by Octopus Ventures to help it double-down on research around expressive voices and expand into new languages.

Tines

Recently named by Sifted as one of the next 10 technology companies to achieve unicorn status in Europe, Tines is an Irish cybersecurity start-up that has developed a no-code platform to automate manual security workloads. Based in Dublin, the ‘soonicorn’ was founded in 2018 by Eoin Hinchy and Thomas Kinsella, who previously worked in security roles at eBay and DocuSign.

Tines raised $26m in fresh funds last April, aiming to invest in products that go beyond security automation, double its workforce and open an office in Boston.

Webio

And finally, Dublin-based Webio has developed a ‘conversational AI’ platform that helps companies in the credit, collections and payments space communicate with their customers. Pitched as a platform that makes difficult customer conversations easy and personalised through automation, Webio aims to help credit-based financial services make their customers feel comfortable without human intervention.

Last week, the six-year-old start-up announced that it had raised $4m in a Series A funding round led by Amsterdam-based Finch Capital.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com