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Telstra Ventures backs robotic digitisation company Ripcord

Ripcord's robotic digitisation technology scans paper records and utilises optical character recognition to upload them to its cloud platform, which can then be integrated into enterprise systems.

Telstra's venture capital arm Telstra Ventures has announced backing a robotic digitisation company, which it said is the world's first to specialise in document management.

Ripcord, based in California, provides services for records management -- a market worth around $62 billion, Telstra Ventures MD Mark Sherman said -- including scanning, indexing, automatic classification of documents, shipping, and unlimited access to the Ripcord Canopy cloud platform.

Ripcord's robotic digitisation capability scans paper records and utilises optical character recognition (OCR), uploading them to Canopy, which can then be integrated into enterprise systems. This enables a 90 percent cost saving on document management for businesses, Sherman said.

"Ripcord is working towards a paperless world, and is using sophisticated automation and software to turn their paper records into a secure, fast, and all-inclusive records management solution," Sherman added.

"While other vendors can only provide point solutions for the lifecycle of document digitisation, Ripcord offers an end-to-end solution that helps reduce the cost for enterprises to manage physical document boxes and make these documents digitally accessible."

Sherman pointed towards Telstra's government and financial services customers as potential markets for the solutions. Ripcord CEO and co-founder Alex Fielding said the company would use Telstra's funding to aid its development of new robots and expansion into additional markets such as Asia-Pacific.

"The robots we developed can process documents 10 times faster than human-based scanning. We can digitise over 2.5 million documents a day with the number expected to rise to 50 million by the end of 2018," Fielding said.

"Since our launch earlier this year, we have not only helped companies in the United States with document management, but we have received requests from global companies around the world.

"We look forward to leveraging Telstra's network in Asia-Pacific to assist us achieve our mission."

Telstra has been using its venture capital arm to boost its innovation over the past few years, with Telstra Ventures last month also investing in Silicon Valley-based mobile app testing company Headspin, citing the growth in downloads and usage of mobile apps globally.

According to Telstra, Headspin's platform enables companies to test apps prior to launch, and then provides them with data that helps developers "enhance the customer experience and benchmark against competitors" following launch.

These capabilities can be used to simulate and measure customer experience on the Telstra network, Sherman said in November.

Telstra Ventures in March similarly announced a strategic partnership with SD-WAN specialist VeloCloud in order to bolster its software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) solutions.

Telstra said it would use VeloCloud's solutions for simplifying and automating enterprise branch SDN functionality, after Telstra Ventures backed VeloCloud alongside Cisco during a $35 million Series D funding round.

In August last year, Telstra Ventures also signed a memorandum of understanding with Telkom Indonesia's corporate venture arm PT Metra Digital Investama to collaborate on startup investment opportunities in South East Asia.

Investing in startups and technology companies has created new revenue streams for Telstra, the telecommunications provider said at the time, particularly in the growing Asian region.

"Over the past five years, Telstra Ventures has invested over AU$200 million in more than 30 different technology companies, giving us access to new revenue streams and cutting-edge technology we can use in-house and provide to our customers," Telstra said last year.

Telstra Ventures also invested in Cloopen, a Chinese API provider in July 2016, additionally making a multimillion-dollar investment in Taiwanese video big data and analytics company Gorilla Technology Group in March 2015 to boost its video analytic software solutions for the government, security, broadcast, and retail sectors.

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