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Four Companies Collaborate to Support DX in Manufacturing

Fujitsu, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., SAP Japan Co., Ltd. and Skillnote Corporation plan to collaborate on the development of platform services supporting digital transformation (DX) in the manufacturing industry, with a focus on the manufacturing of aircraft, railways, ships and large machinery.

Finding ways to respond flexibly to rapid changes in the global economy, including a dramatic reduction in the working age population in many developed countries, represents an ongoing challenge for the manufacturing industry.

To this end, the demand for measures to ensure business continuity throughout the supply chain and to standardize and systemize technologies and skills is gaining increasing importance.

Many on-site production management tasks still rely on manual labor, however, and especially small and medium-sized manufacturers often face barriers to DX adoption, including trouble securing skilled workers and difficulty in calculating the return on investment.

There also remain concerns that the local digitization and systematization of individual companies may create organizational silos that hinder overall optimization of the entire supply chain and operations linked to the engineering chain.

To address these challenges and to provide a basis for efficient, continuous high-quality manufacturing by using common data and information, Fujitsu, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, SAP Japan and Skillnote plan to develop manufacturing platform services “co-created” with users.

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Crosschq Named Best in Class HR Technology for Recruitment

Crosschq, pioneers of the Talent Intelligence Cloud™, which is powering a revolution in data-driven hiring and people analytics, today shared that it was recently named the Best in Class HR Technology for Recruitment in North America by the 2022 HRO Today Association Awards.

For more than 15 years, the HRO Today Association has recognized company and individual accomplishments in human resources, technology, and leadership around the world. This year’s North America and EMEA program garnered hundreds of submissions, with 71 selected as finalists. The awards for these regions were presented during the virtual HRO Today Association Conference, which took place on November 16, 2022. Of those named as finalists, 37 companies and individuals, including Crosschq, took home awards during the ceremony.

Elliot Clark, CEO & Chairman of SharedXpertise, publisher of HRO Today, commented, “With the HRO Today Association Awards, we aim to recognize the companies and individuals advancing the HR function. What Crosschq provides improves upon several of the challenges and pain points that talent teams frequently lament. It emphasizes transparency and collaboration while identifying process inefficiencies and delivers critical insights. Crosschq is truly a best-in-class recruitment solution, and we congratulate them on this win.”

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Customers and Online Shoe Retailers Put Their Best Foot Forward for Climate

It can be difficult to buy a pair of shoes online, and if you have a high instep, wide feet, or a bone spur, the problem is exacerbated. It is common for customers shopping online to buy two sizes of the same model so they can try them on at home and return the pair that doesn’t fit.

The size of the problem is considerable, with half of all shoes bought online being returned. The primary reason for these returns is a poor fit or wrong size — a staggering 75%!

There is a significant cost to these returns. In Europe alone, 330,000 tons of CO2 emissions are created every year by people returning shoes. Returns and re-shipments cost the industry €10 billion annually and cost customers a cumulative 275 million hours — an average of 32 minutes per return — per year. And this doesn’t account for the amount of waste that is generated, including the additional packaging involved and items that are returned but cannot be resold.

On the customer side, some people only discover a pair of shoes doesn’t fit well when they wear them out for the first time, after which they are unable to return them. What happens to these shoes? Some will be listed on peer-to-peer secondhand sites but others will sadly go to landfill, where 22 billion pairs end up each year.

The global online footwear market is thriving, with a market size valued at US $99.1 billion in 2021 and a predicted growth rate of 6.8% from 2022 to 2028. According to a study by Quantis, the footwear industry currently responsible for 1.4% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Additionally, 77% of people believing the shoe industry should do more to reduce its level of waste. The market is crying out for an innovative approach to scale down waste.

Enter German startup Footprint Technologies. The company has stepped up to the challenge of reducing waste in the footwear industry through the development of an innovative solution that benefits the customer, the planet, and the industry as a whole.

Using technology based on artificial intelligence (AI), shoppers can now scan their own feet to a high degree of accuracy and match it to find the perfect fit model and size of shoe.

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Deepgram lands new cash to grow its enterprise voice-recognition business

Deepgram, a company developing voice-recognition tech for the enterprise, today raised $47 million in new funding led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Citi Ventures and Alkeon. An extension of Deepgram’s Series B that kicked off in February 2021, led by Tiger Global, it brings the startup’s total raised to $86 million, which CEO Scott Stephenson says is being put toward R&D in areas like emotion detection, intent recognition, summarization, topic detection, translation and redaction.

“We’re pleased that Deepgram achieved its highest-ever pre- and post-money valuation, even despite the challenging market conditions,” Stephenson told TechCrunch in an email interview. (Unfortunately, he wouldn’t reveal what exactly the valuation was.) “We believe that Deepgram is in a strong position to thrive in this tougher macroeconomic environment. Deepgram’s speech AI is the core enabling technology behind many of our customers’ applications, and the demand for speech understanding grows as companies seek greater efficiency.”

Launched in 2015, Deepgram focuses on building custom voice-recognition solutions for customers such as Spotify, Auth0 and even NASA. The company’s data scientists source, create, label and evaluate speech data to produce speech-recognition models that can understand brands and jargon, capture an array of languages and accents, and adapt to challenging audio environments. For example, for NASA, Deepgram built a model to transcribe communications between Mission Control and the International Space Station.

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Solar-tech developer BladeRanger acquires Raycatch assets

BladeRanger, the developer of an autonomous solar panel cleaning robot, has acquired the assets, operations and 400,000 shares of climate tech company Raycatch Ltd. for approximately $1.5 million.

The acquisition will allow BladeRanger to expand its footprint in the Israeli and global renewable energy markets. It will supply a holistic solution to solar fields and sites, enhancing efficiency and profit and delivering significant savings in operating costs in the energy generation process.

Raycatch is responsible for the development and sale of Deep Solar: a solar field management platform that performs advanced automatic analysis and monitoring in order to streamline and maximize renewable electricity generation efficiency.

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Web-Store Plugin Reduces CO2 Footprint of Online Shoe Shopping

Currently more than 50 % of all shoes purchased online are returned, most of them due to an improper fit. Fashion Industry company Footprint Technologies and SAP are going to change that. Their cloud-based Artificial Intelligence solution helps online shoe buyers to find their perfect fit, on the first try. The footprint app is installed into online shoe retailers’ web-shops, using SAP Commerce Cloud as a proven connector. Online retailers increase their profitability by minimizing size- and fit-related returns, customers are happy and the planet benefits from saving CO2 emissions and packaging waste.

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Public sector drives strong demand for conversational AI, with 2.7M+ users served on the Yellow.ai platform

With governments across the world working to enable broad-scaled digital transformation, public sector organizations are increasingly gravitating towards the adoption of Conversational AI solutions to redefine the citizen experience. According to data released by Yellow.ai, a leading enterprise-grade Conversational AI platform, the company has served over 2.7M unique users for its government sector clients worldwide.

Recently mentioned in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Government Services, 2022, under the chatbot category, the company works with key government departments across countries. The Yellow.ai platform has recorded an exchange of over 79M messages focused on citizen delivery services, exchanged between its Dynamic AI agents and end-users during over 5M sessions.

Raghu Ravinutala, CEO & Co-founder, Yellow.ai said, “Public sector organizations need to address numerous queries daily, and doing so manually is a time-consuming task. At the same time, citizens have a growing expectation of being able to conveniently avail government services. That’s where Conversational AI can step in to improve efficiency and human productivity, streamlining the process of delivering citizen services digitally while keeping humans in the loop. We have seen a huge surge in traction from government agencies across countries and our deployments are helping address some very unique use cases by bringing power to citizens’ fingertips on channels that they actively use. With continued emphasis on digitization, we expect Conversational AI to soon become an integral pillar in delivering stellar services to citizens.”

While text-based messaging channels are the preferred medium for citizen delivery services, the company is also seeing voice-based Conversational AI solutions gain momentum. The major use-cases, as observed, are for automating customer support, filing documentation related to government entities, booking services, raising complaints, making payments, and locating branches and offices, where the most traction is being witnessed on channels such as WhatsApp.

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Specright Recognized as a Representative Vendor in New Gartner® Market Guide for Packaging and Product Specification Management

Specright, Inc., the pioneer of Specification Management software that helps customers take control of their supply chain data, today shared business momentum milestones from this year that cement its position as category leader, including new recognition from Gartner. The 2022 Gartner Market Guide for Packaging and Product Specification Management names Specright as a Representative Vendor for Packaging and Product Specification Management (PPSM).

“With two million products on our platform globally, Specright is helping companies make the products and packaging that we use every day in an efficient, sustainable way – from Tide Pods, to Carmex chapstick, and even the packaging for COVID-19 vaccines,” said Matthew Wright, CEO and founder at Specright. “It’s rewarding for the entire Specright team to reap the recognition of our industry-leading position in the market.”

Digitized Specification Management is vital for businesses in packaging, product development, supply chain, manufacturing, and more that need to easily create, share, and track product and packaging specifications while working closely with suppliers to bring their product to market while ensuring sustainability. Specifications are constantly changing, and managing this data with Excel spreadsheets, PDFs, and email can result in product recalls, waste, and production delays when outdated specs are used. Specright not only digitizes this data with a patented, spec-first platform but introduces a new way for companies to make amazing, sustainable things by developing them from the ground-up.

Specright’s approach has led to year-over-year doubling of revenue and the number of active platform users since the company’s first funding round. Multiple companies in the Fortune 500 as well as challenger brands choose Specright as the foundation for digitizing their supply chains, including Colgate-Palmolive, Taylor Farms, and Johnson & Johnson, and the platform boasts 99 percent customer retention.

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Clarifruit raises $12 million to reduce waste in the fruit and vegetable industry

Clarifruit, a company developing a software platform for automated quality control for fruit and vegetable supply chains, has announced that it has completed a $12 million Series A round led by Champel Capital and Firstime Ventures with participation from Kubota, a provider of agricultural machinery and technologies, and NevaTeam Partners venture capital fund. It brings the company’s total funding to $15 million following a grant of $2.5 million received through Horizon 2020.

The company hopes to reduce waste in the fresh produce supply chain, an industry estimated to be valued at $2 trillion, and secure a sufficient food supply for future generations. Its solution addresses challenges in quality control and decision-making and the lack of standardized and objective quality control processes when assessing fruits and vegetables. It is estimated that this problem leads to a waste of 45% of the agricultural production in the industry, representing approximately $900 billion of loss every year.

“Since we launched our product 20 months ago, we have been able to make a significant impact and onboard tens of leading global players into our circle of clients that are now using Clarifruit’s advanced technology to automate their quality control and provide real-time info to reduce waste and maximize revenue opportunities,” said Elad Mardix, Co-Founder and CEO of Clarifruit.
Its platform has two elements: the first is a mobile app allowing quality inspects to conduct quality control processes in minutes. The second is a cloud-based control system that allows operation managers to monitor the process specific to their company and its goals, results, and insights all in real-time. It uses computer vision technology with Big Data and analytics capabilities to help retailers, wholesalers, marketing companies, and growers make data-driven decisions to reduce waste.

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IoT and Industry 4.0: Zerynth raises a €5.3 million round led by United Ventures

Zerynth supports companies in digitizing production processes through Industrial IoT solutions which enable any machinery to Industry 4.0.

The investment round, one of the largest in Italy in the Industrial IoT field, is led by United Ventures with the participation of a pool of selected Italian and international investors and business angels, including Vertis SGR with Venture Factory through the VV3TT Fund, LIFTT and CDP Venture Capital with the “Comparto IndustryTech” of the Corporate Partners Fund.

The capital increase will enable Zerynth to make AI and IoT technologies increasingly accessible, confirm its leadership in Italy, and strengthen its international expansion.

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Infront acquires Israeli sportstech startup Pico

Switzerland-based sports marketing company Infront has acquired Israeli startup Pico Get Personal, a sports technology company that helps rightsholders to gather, manage and own zero- and first-party audience data to customize marketing.
Pico pairs content with fun activations, capturing first-party data and individual preferences. Brands or rightsholders can then use those insights to create personalized marketing.
Pico, founded in 2014 by Asaf Nevo, Aviv Paz, and Roi Mozer, has raised $5 million to date and all 12 of its employees will be joining Infront.

“Beyond the joy of joining the biggest organization in our sector, one of the most important things for us was to ensure that every one of our employees would be able to come with us,” said Nevo. “We have been working with Infront for many years now, making this new chapter a very natural step in our growth. The sports industry has made a push in recent years into tech and data, with Pico playing a major part in that. By joining one of the biggest players in this market we will be able to provide our services at a much bigger scale.”

Milkman Last Mile Platform Now Available on SAP® Store

Milkman S.P.A. today announced that its Milkman Last Mile Platform is available on SAP® Store, the online marketplace for SAP and partner offerings. Integrating with SAP Transportation Management and SAP Commerce Cloud, the Milkman Last Mile Platform provides users with real-time updates on the status of delivery and rescheduling options. The user experience is enhanced with better delivery predictability.

“I am both proud and flattered of our platform being on SAP Store,” said Antonio Perini, Milkman S.P.A. CEO. “I am delighted and grateful for the opportunity to work with such a team of experts at SAP. We are at the very intersection of a sustainable consumer experience and the digital supply chain, taming the complexity of today’s fulfillment networks for omnichannel is the most exciting challenge ever.”

Milkman Last Mile Platform connects recipients’ and businesses’ needs, allowing logistics and retailer organizations to:

  • Enable greener deliveries, reducing mileage and CO2 emission thanks to cutting-edge route optimization algorithms, combined with efficient delivery processes for successful first delivery attempts.
  • Exceed recipients’ expectations, with an interactive last mile strategy that modulates the service level and addresses the most demanding requests with very precise appointments at a low cost.
  • Reduce WISMO (Where Is My Order) calls by enabling interactive communication flows with recipients, providing full visibility over the order delivery process. The recipient is always in control and can intervene to check, verify, and eventually apply changes.
  • Automate operations by implementing standardized processes for exception management, allowing manual adjustments.

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Vue Storefront wins best e-Commerce and retail startup at The Europas Tech Startup Awards 2022

Vue Storefront, a technology company that develops software for businesses to create fast, modern and high-performing online storefronts, was crowned a winner at The Europas Tech Startup Awards 2022, picking up the prize for hottest e-Commerce and Retail tech startup.

One of the most high-profile technology awards in Europe, The Europas recognize the continent’s most ambitious and successful startups. Already in its fourteenth year, previous winners include Spotify, wise, SoundCloud, Deliveroo and Starling.

Patrick Friday, CEO, Vue Storefront: “We’re honored to receive this award and take our place among such illustrious previous winners. It’s testament to the hard work of our talented team and shows that, as a company, we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to our investors for believing in our vision, to our customers and partners for trusting in our product, and to our huge global community of developers, who have been with us since day one – driving us to continually improve our technology.”

Borys Musielak, Partner, SMOK Ventures: “As Vue Storefront’s first institutional investor, it’s thrilling to witness its growth and the successes of the founding team. That it has been named the best e-Commerce startup in Europe is no surprise at all. This is a company that will help define digital commerce in the coming years and its potential for growth is unlimited.”

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Revuze Announces $12 Million Growth Equity Investment Led by PSG

Revuze, a leading provider of real-time consumer insights for some of the world’s biggest brands, announced a $12 million strategic growth investment led by PSG, a leading growth equity firm partnering with software and technology-enabled services companies to help accelerate their growth. The round was joined by industry veterans Karyn Schoenbart and Tod Johnson, former CEO and Executive Chairman, respectively, of global market research leader NPD Group. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2013, Revuze empowers brands to understand consumers’ preferences and behavior by delivering a faster, more efficient alternative to traditional market research. Revuze’s cloud-based software uses AI-based natural language processing to gather, cleanse, analyze and provide insights on consumer sentiment, feedback and overall satisfaction. By implementing Revuze’s product set, companies can generate deep consumer insights in nearly real time that would otherwise take months to understand.

“The world moves at a speed that has outpaced traditional market research tools, and Revuze was founded to help brands respond to changing landscapes in real time in order to allow them to win in the digital era. We have made the process of data gathering, analysis and research programmatic, arming companies with actionable, value-generating insights,” said Boaz Grinvald, CEO of Revuze. “We are proud to partner with PSG, Karyn and Tod as we look to scale our platform to serve more brands around the globe.”

This funding will be used to help accelerate Revuze’s geographic expansion into the U.S., scale its technology, and continue to innovate and grow its solution set.

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