American AI multinational strikes process gold with TUE spin-off

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Processgold, a Dutch process mining specialist partly owned by Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE), has been acquired by USA-based Uipath. This billion-dollar company is a world-leading player in robotic process automation (RPA), an emerging field that uses artificial intelligence to automate business processes. The sale is an important step in the further growth of the TUE spin-off.

Process mining uses smart algorithms to analyze large amounts of business information. These analyses not only provide more insight into organizational processes but also allow for production processes to be made more efficient. Large companies, such as Porsche, Philips, KPN, KPMG and Aegon, use Processgold’s process mining software.

Credit: Processgold

Processgold was founded in 2010 in Frankfurt, Germany, by Rudolf Kuhn, initially to sell the process mining software developed by his acquaintance, Dutchman John Hoogland. After some time, however, Hoogland sold his business and his software was gradually discontinued. This forced Kuhn to go look for an alternative. Nothing really compared to the original, so in the end, he decided to build his own solution.

Searching for a technical implementation partner, Kuhn contacted other old acquaintances of his, at the TUE spin-off Magnaview. Their platform had existed long before anyone else had started developing process mining software. The company was founded in 2005 by Erik-Jan van der Linden and TUE alumnus Roel Vliegen, in close collaboration with the data visualization group of professor Jack van Wijk and the process mining group of then TUE professor Wil van der Aalst. Magnaview knew technology, Processgold knew business, and together, they created a very powerful and flexible business intelligence solution.

In 2016, the two partners merged. In exchange for the know-how brought in, the TUE received shares in the combined company. These are now being taken over by Uipath. For the Eindhoven university, the transaction is proof that its policy of investing in promising start-ups is bearing fruit. It also sees opportunities for future collaboration between Uipath and EAISI, its new AI institute. “The fact that we now have a direct link to a major player like Uipath gives a new impulse to our plans to become a leading university in the field of AI,” comments EAISI director Carlo van de Weijer.

RPA specialist Uipath uses virtual robots, or ‘bots’, to automate business processes. As human programmers are no longer needed, this can lead to enormous cost savings. The company was founded in 2005 in Bucharest, Romania, but is now headquartered in New York City. Active in 23 countries and employing about 3,000 people, it has an estimated market value of 6.4 billion dollars. Uipath describes the Processgold acquisition as a “gamechanger”. “With this acquisition, we become the first vendor of scale to offer a solution that brings together process mining and RPA.”