Robotic digitization startup Ripcord raises $40 million to make paperless offices a reality

VentureBeat
by Paul Sawers

Ripcord, a startup that’s using robotics, machine vision, and artificial intelligence to create what it calls the “truly paperless workplace,” has raised $40 million in a series B round of funding led by Icon Ventures, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Lux Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank.

The funds constitute $25 million in equity financing and $15 million in debt.

Founded out of Hayward, California in 2015, Ripcord has built machines that can scan, index, and categorize paper documents to make them searchable via the cloud — using companies’ existing digital systems, such as SAP, Oracle, and NetSuite.

Companies pack their physical records into boxes, affix barcoded labels containing metadata that’s permanently associated with the files, and dispatch them to Ripcord. The company then unpacks the files and passes them through its machines, which scan, upload, and convert the content into searchable PDFs.

Ripcord’s latest round of financing comes less than six months after the company announced its $9.5 million series A round, which saw Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak make a rare personal investment. The company’s latest tranche of cash will be used to “build new robots” and scale its software platform to increase its production capacity. The company also plans to hire more than 100 new staff over the next year and expand into new markets.

Ripcord cofounder and CEO Alex Fielding, who was an engineer at Apple in the early 1990s, said Ripcord has been inundated with requests from major companies seeking to digitize their records. Indeed, the global records management industry is reportedly worth around $25 billion, a sizable market in which Ripcord hopes to make its mark.

“Since Ripcord launched in March, we’ve been flooded with requests from some of the largest global companies needing our help to digitize their world,” said Fielding. “To keep up with demand, our investors doubled down to help us continue our mission of disrupting the $25 billion records management industry. Now, we’re fulfilling our promises by building even more robots and deploying our production version of Ripcord Canopy to give everyone the tools they need to securely access anything, anywhere, at any time.”

In terms of costs, Ripcord has previously revealed that its fees start at $0.004 per page, per month, including everything from transportation to categorization. By 2018, the company projects that it will be digitizing at a rate of 50 million records each day.