To nab a stake of UiPath, CapitalG’s Laela Sturdy chased CEO Daniel Dines around the globe. Now that stake is worth $2 billion.

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UiPath, the task automation software maker that made a successful market debut on Wednesday, has become a feather in the cap of its investors, especially Laela Sturdy, General Partner at CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent late-stage growth fund.

She doggedly pursued a deal with UiPath’s founder CEO Daniel Dines, chasing him around the globe and simply not taking no for an answer.

It all began in 2017. On December 13 that year she booked a flight from San Francisco to New York to meet Dines.

Sturdy had been quietly meeting with a dozen of UiPath’s customers to get to know its business, she said. The startup promised to automate mundane office tasks with robotic software, and counted Amazon Web Services, Bank of America, and Verizon among its customers.

They each told her how they used its automation software in different ways, and she began to see a “uniquely large market because it can address so many different use cases,” she tells Insider. Capturing Sturdy’s attention is significant. She has currently backed 10 unicorns including Stripe, Gusto, Unqork, and Duolingo.

But getting Dine’s attention for a meeting was difficult. At the time he was regularly jet-setting between Europe, Asia, and the US running his company. So when Sturdy discovered he would be in the US — albeit in New York —  she booked the first flight out of San Francisco and met him at a WeWork on West 43rd Street in New York. Their talk lasted three hours.

“Almost from the beginning, which is very important to me as an investor, Daniel and I really saw eye-to-eye, both on a personal and professional level,” she said. They both saw the same enormous market and she was impressed with how fast he was moving to capture it in “a very customer-centric way,” she added.

She knew then she wanted a stake but it took her and her team several intercontinental flights and meetings with his team for her to finalize the deal.

“We started chasing them around the world,” she said. “Eventually we got him to come back through California and that’s when we sealed the deal on investing.”

Despite the round-the-world pursuit, CapitalG didn’t get as big a slice of UiPath’s March 2018 $153 million Series B as Sturdy wanted. “We would have loved to lead the B, but Accel had an agreement with Daniel to lead the B, and there were a lot of people that wanted to be involved in that,” she said.

Undeterred, several months later, Sturdy doubled down on the initial investment by co-leading a massive $225 million Series C round with Sequoia at a $3 billion valuation. According to UiPath’s S1, CapitalG outspent both Accel and Sequoia in the round and acquired 15,675,537 shares for about $100 million.

Sturdy says Dines’s decision to have Sequoia co-lead the round with her was clear to her from the beginning and written into the term sheet contract. This was in part because Sturdy had already been deeply involved with the company — initially as a board …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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