About a year ago, Microsoft targeted a Greek startup, and after making an attractive offer they managed to acquire it. This startup is no other than Softomotive, which being under the control of the American giant exclusively develops in Greece some part of the Windows.
Before looking into what attracted Bill Gate’s company to the Greek robotic process automation startup, let’s find out how it all started 16 years ago.
Marios Stavropoulos and Argyris Kaninis, founders of Softomotive, told their stories to Outliers, Endeavor Greece’s podcast series, whose media partner is MoneyReview.
They first met during their studies at the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications of the University of Athens. They were enthusiastic about computers from an early age. Both Marios, who was born and raised in Kavala, and Argyris, who grew up in Athens, got acquainted with the computers when they were at Junior High School. At first, they fancied playing games, but they were soon “infected” by the germ of computer programming.
After their graduation, they made their first steps at private companies. At the beginning of 2000, Marios first entered the business world by founding Likno, a software company.
In 2005 he launched Softomotive focusing on RPA, a technology that offers robotic process automation solutions. That was the time when he decided to join forces with Argyris, as he was more experienced in the commercial field. They soon realized that several companies showed interested in leveraging this technology, so they transformed their company from B2C (business to consumers) to B2B (business to business).
Initially, they created a product using a drag and drop environment, in which one could describe steps in a sequence, and then they could be performed automatically. It proved to be practically useful and it had a major commercial impact. It did not target developers, but it was rather destined for people who worked on computers.
However, what was the turning point for the company? “When we got into a plane and visited our biggest client, the largest bank in the world. Once there, we had the chance to pinpoint the needs of banking. Our product got some things out of it. Our decisions and focus were redefined by that deal.”
Before Microsoft knocked at their door, Softomotive had had 8,000 clients worldwide. Their producht, WinAutomaiton, applies mainly to the banking and insurance industry, but it can be applied to other sectors as well. It is namely used by healthcare companies.
The Power of the Citizen Developer
What is it that made Softomotive so attractive to Microsoft? The fact that it especially targeted clients rather than developers. The company provided employees with the necessary easy-to-use tools that enabled them to make something that a developer could do. This is exactly what Microsoft focuses on.
From their point of view, Marios and Argyris agreed to the acquisition, because they were aware that the field of automation was rapidly expanding. “So as to be able to offer an automation solution portfolio with a number of solutions that are applicable, one has to be a major organization,” they point out.
The new application at Windows
Thanks to this deal, there is a center in Greece that produces a Microsoft product. WinAutomation, Softomotive’s automation applications platform, which is provided to the users for free, will be embodied in the next versions of Windows as an application in the operating system, just like Paint. This is a very important development for a number of reasons. Windows acquire technology automation. From now on, one does not need to possess code knowledge to describe their tasks in order for the operating system to perform the tasks for them.
The article was originally published at moneyreview.gr