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Alternative Data: Why You Need it & Where to Start

Today’s most critical asset in helping companies make better strategic decisions? Data. And in order to be a successful data-driven company with a competitive edge, internal data just won’t cut it. Companies must incorporate alternative data sources into the mix in order to take advantage of data-based insights, identify microtrends before they become exponential, and to successfully make key strategic business decisions. A perfect example of an alternative data source to tap into? Insights generated by SAP Partner NWO.ai whose solution harnesses machine learning techniques and human metadata to identify global cultural shifts early and throughout the lifecycle of trends.

The biggest challenges facing the alternative data era

As the complexity of companies and their source systems are growing at a rapid pace, business leaders are facing extreme difficulty in effectively managing these expanding systems of data. The complicated and time-consuming onboarding of data is simply not an option for organizations that need to operate efficiently and with agility. Organizations need a seamless and simple solution for accessing and onboarding data, while simultaneously preparing their systems for the cloud.

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NWO.ai Selected to Participate in Season 7 of La Maison des Startups LVMH

NWO.ai, a leading strategic intelligence platform that is revolutionizing the future of external data for enterprises, announced it has been selected to participate in season 7 of La Maison des Startups LVMH.

La Maison des Startups LVMH is a unique initiative in the luxury industry, helping fast-track industry startups to navigate LVMH Group and start new conversations with Maisons on a global scale. The program welcomes international startups each year to drive business with LVMH Maisons and build the future products and services of the luxury industry.

NWO.ai’s participation in this exclusive program will enable LVMH Maisons to potentially spot emerging consumer trends and understand the drivers behind them before these trends become exponential. Further, these advanced capabilities will give LVMH Maisons the ability to leverage these insights from disparate alternative data sources with zero setup time.

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Office leasing proptech Estie completes $9m Series A

Estie, a Japanese proptech operating an office leasing and rental office matching service, announced raising a approximate ¥1 billion ($8,750,000 USD) Series A, according to TechCrunch Japan. The company says it will use the funds to strengthen its HR team recruitment and plans to expand both its product and operation departments in order to build, develop and support its multi-product commercial real estate offering.

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Lixo raises €3.5 million from Demeter Partners, Raise Seed For Good and 50 Partners

Lixo, a Paris, France-based SAAS developer of analytics tools for the waste management and recycling industries, announced closing a seed funding round at €3.5 million ($4M).

The money was raised locally from France from investors including Demeter PartnersRaise Seed For Good and 50 Partners, joined by angel investor Amaury Bierent (Ovive and Optyma).

Lixo, founded in 2019 by CEO Marjorie Darcet, developed technological solutions for the waste management industry, helping with waste tracing and recovering it. The tools uses computer-vision and sensors in order to sort the waste and analyze its quality composition in real time. The company says it works with french partners, including waste collectors such as Veolia and Brangeon, sorting centers such as Tiru, ​​Sotraval, Kerval, recyclers Norske Skog , Freudenberg, Wellman and cross-functional and national players such as Citeo or Valorplast.

Hanko.io’s new FIDO2-based passwordless IAM solution features biometric capabilities

German startup Hanko.io has released a new passwordless Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution. Hanko Identity uses FIDO2 and WebAuthn technologies to entirely eliminate passwords from the login process.

Instead, the tool enables logging in via a technology that Hanko calls Passlinks, essentially magic links sent to a user’s email. The Passlinks technology works via Hanko’s Authentication API and creates a session for that user while simultaneously validating ownership of the email account.

After signing in via Passlinks, users will then be able to set up WebAuth login locally on the device, using biometric authentication.

For context, WebAuthn technology is currently supported on all end-user devices running Windows 10 and 11, Android, and most Apple devices.

According to the company, Hanko Identity is particularly easy to implement in a company’s own technology stack, while also being highly customizable through its white-label capabilities.

In addition, since the solution does not require the use of passwords at any time, tech teams will not have to deal with forgotten passwords, phishing attacks, or the compromising of user data through server hacks.

“The integration of two-factor authentication or biometrics on top of passwords can complicate the user experience and is often a more extensive software project that will cost time and, therefore, a lot of money,” comments Hanko CEO Felix Magedanz.

“We are happy that with Hanko Identity, we managed to build a solution that eliminates all these problems.”

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Maven leads £5.5 million funding round for transport tech platform Liftango

Liftango’s carpool platform helps larger employers and academic institutions to internally match drivers and passengers in real-time to minimise their carbon footprint, reduce parking congestion and create a convenient shared transport experience to and from offices or campuses.

The new investment should help the business take advantage of commercial opportunities in the transport sector, by recruiting several key sales and marketing staff as it looks to scale its operations in Europe and across North America.

Martin McLaren, investment director at Maven, said: “We are seeing a notable shift towards DRT solutions as organisations across the world seek to address parking, congestion, zoning and environmental issues attributed to transport.

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South Korean Payments Firm CHAI Pockets US$45 Million in Series B+ Fundraise

South Korean payments startup CHAI raised US$45 million during a Series B+ funding round that was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Asia (SBVA) and Nyca Partners.

SBVA’s participation in this funding round marks their second Series B investment into CHAI.

The round also received additional participation from investors such as KT Investment, Conductive Ventures, Nordstar Capital, Samsung NEXT and B Capital.

CHAI said that it will use this funding to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia and develop a fully automated end-to-end payment infrastructure for digital merchants throughout Asia.

Founded in 2019, CHAI aims to bridge the payments gap in Asian markets by providing a unified payment orchestration solution for local merchants through a single application programming interface (API).

Through CHAI Port, merchants can activate and offer over 30 payment options such as credit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers and cross-border payments to their customers in under an hour.

CHAI currently processes more than US$6 billion on behalf of over 2,2 00 merchants and had launched CHAI Port in Vietnam and Thailand

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nwo.ai’s story with SAP Data Marketplace: Unlocking the Value of Your Data

If you have a business, you likely have a lot of data. It’s your one true source for insight to understand your customers, their needs, and what they want.

But data is more than just information, it’s an asset. There are many ways to unlock the value of data, but few providers can give you all these benefits at once. The possibilities are limitless with SAP Data Marketplace’s ability to bring all of your data together in one place for instant insights and seamless integration into applications like SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

In this story, we introduce you to a use case enabled by NWO.ai, a data & analytics startup, that is among the first Data Providers to be listed on the Data Marketplace. You will also be able to understand the main benefits of SAP Data Marketplace for you as a Data Provider, why it’s so important, and what value it can bring to your company.

“We want to give our customers an opportunity and an easy way to get instant insights from various alternative data sources and merge them with their operational information. And we see Data Marketplace as part of Data Warehouse Cloud as a perfect environment for that, because majority of the SAP products are already connected there. It is as simple as clicking and collecting all the necessary data, both internal and external, in one place.”

-Miroslav DimitrovChief Operating Officer at NWO.ai

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Unlocking The Next Growth Frontier By Using Alternative Data Sources

The holiday gift-giving season is just around the corner, and businesses are hopeful for a strong year-end due to the opening of the economy and the expected lift of the U.S. travel ban. Adobe Analytics forecasts a record-breaking online shopping season, which could top $200 billion.

Factoring in the ongoing challenges around Covid-19, the flu season and the growing adoption of models like buy-now-pay-later and curbside pickup — as well as recent supply issues — in order to avoid empty shelves, companies will need to tap into new data sources to anticipate and meet rising consumer demand.

Buy-Now-Pay-Later (And Hopefully Deliver)

Supply chains and stockouts remain the main issue in front of most businesses ahead of the holiday season. According to Adobe’s holiday forecast referenced earlier, out-of-stock messages are up 172% from the pre-pandemic period. These messages are primarily driven by supply chain factors, including forecasted inaccuracies and strained logistics networks. Ever since the start of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed sudden spikes in demand for unforeseen categories — from toilet paper to thermometers. While the reasons for most of them are clear in hindsight, companies must adapt quickly to stay close to consumer trends.

During the pandemic, we’ve also witnessed reformed consumer behavior and habits when it comes to health, ethics and sustainability. Additionally, they now demand the same commitment from brands and are ready to act and boycott to drive that change.

In this new market dynamic, narrative is king, and a brand’s story has become overwhelmingly shaped by consumers through their reviews, blogs and social media posts. A McKinsey survey reports that 33% of Gen Z consumers and about 12% of boomers choose to buy from companies that align with their values. Businesses must recognize that this will not be a one-time adjustment of strategy but a new competitive factor to consider.

Some of the key questions that need to be addressed immediately include: How quickly can brands embrace change in consumer values, preferences and habits, and to what extent (if at all) can they spot the early signals?

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Pulkit Jaiswal and Imogen Low from nwo.ai named to Forbes 30 Under 30 2022

Using machine learning and human metadata to identify global shifts early and throughout the trend lifecycle, nwo.ai enables corporations and governments to get insights on sectors ranging from consumer products to global war. Low, a Westpac Bank Trust Scholar, ran SAP’s Machine Learning efforts in APAC at age 17. Jaiswal, a drone pioneer and serial entrepreneur, developed geopolitical trading signals for hedge funds. The company has $3.5 million in seed funding.

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Milk Moovement Bags $1.5M From SDTC

Milk Moovement, which makes supply chain management software for the dairy industry, now controls about 10 percent of United States milk production and has bagged a $1.5 million grant from federal agency Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

CEO Robert Forsythe said in an interview that, in the wake of a United States expansion that saw the company move its sales office to Minnesota, Milk Moovement has inked deals with three of the country’s largest dairy cooperatives — including California Dairies, which includes more than 300 farms.

He said Milk Moovement’s revenue has grown about 350 percent on the back of the American deals, with annual recurring revenue set to hit $2 million by the end of this year.

In addition to a $4 million equity funding round last Spring, the money from SDTC follows a smaller, $100,000 grant from 2020.

“From there, they really looked at, ‘Okay, who’s high-performing and who’s growing really quickly, and who could benefit from further investment?” said Forsythe.

“They were just seeing traction and an ability to really double down on what we pitched for the $100K.”

Milk Moovement’s software is now used in the production of 23 billion pounds of milk annually — about a tenth of the 223 billion pounds produced every year in the United States. The technology is used by about 800 farms and Forsythe expects that number to double by early next year.

But he said $2 million of revenue from 10 percent of the market does not mean Milk Movement’s annual revenue from the U.S. will top out at $20 million. Dairy co-operatives are the company’s beachhead market, but next year, he expects to begin making inroads into the tenfold larger dairy processing industry.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Wisy

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at Wisy.

Min Chen is the CEO of Wisy, a startup that solves a $1.9T problem in the CPG and retail industry by optimizing operations, reducing out-of-stocks and waste with artificial intelligence. She is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and software engineer with 20 years of experience. In this interview, Min Chen will explain what problem Wisy is trying to solve, what makes her company different, and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: What problem is Wisy trying to solve?

Min Chen: Wisy is solving a problem that affects everybody who shops at a store. All of us have had the inconvenience of not finding the product we want to buy, and this problem causes a $1.9T annual loss in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry due to stockouts and waste. While stockouts can happen for several reasons, one of the most common causes is the lack of actionable data at the point-of-sale for CPG and retailer personnel to take timely, correct actions and prevent the problem in the future. Stockouts lead to losses in sales and waste as products are not sold before their expiry date because they are not being restocked on shelves in a timely manner.

Why is this such a difficult problem to solve?

Chen: Imagine a dairy company with over 100 different products sold at thousands of stores or the dairy department in a grocery store with thousands of products to choose from. Keeping track of product rotation, inventory, planogram compliance, assortments, and pricing of every product and every store is a daunting task that is still done manually. Manual retail execution processes rely on the memory and eyeballing capabilities of employees. It is no surprise that error margins are high, data are inaccurate and not actionable. High personnel turnover adds more challenges as new employees take longer to execute the same tasks and could make more mistakes due to their unfamiliarity with the company’s myriad of products.

How is Wisy helping to solve this problem?

Chen: Wisy has developed an artificial-intelligence solution that works in any mobile device to empower field employees to quickly identify retail execution issues and perform corrective actions quickly and consistently. Instead of verifying out-of-stocks manually, employees just have to snap a picture of the shelf and Wisy will identify issues such as out-of-stocks, planogram compliance, unauthorized products, and pricing issues. Employees won’t have to rely on memorizing the hundreds of products and their right quantities for each store to identify issues. Wisy will do that for them in a matter of seconds. It is likely to increase efficiency by at least 25 percent and accuracy to 90 percent, leading to potential combined benefit of 3 to 10 percent of revenue.

BigID Ranked Number 27th Fastest-Growing Company in North America on the 2021 Deloitte Technology Fast 500™

BigID announced it ranked #27 on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest-growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, fintech, and energy tech companies in North America, now in its 27th year.

BigID’s chief executive officer, Dimitri Sirota, says, “This recognition of our growth reflects the critical importance for companies to reimagine data management everywhere for data privacy, security, and governance across their entire data landscape.”

“Each year the Technology Fast 500 shines a light on leading innovators in technology and this year is no exception,” said Paul Silverglate, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology sector leader. “In the face of innumerable challenges resulting from the pandemic, the best and brightest were able to pivot, reinvent and transform and grow. We celebrate the winning organizations and especially the talented employees driving their success.”

“The pandemic has underscored the urgent need for tech solutions in a variety of areas across health care, fintech, energy tech, entertainment, to name a few, so reliance on innovators like the winners of the Technology Fast 500 is more important than ever,” said Christie Simons, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP and industry leader for technology, media and telecommunications within Deloitte’s audit & assurance practice. “These companies are not only at the cutting edge, transforming the way we do business, but most importantly, recognize the strategic importance of ongoing innovation, especially in the ever-changing world of technology.”

Overall, 2021 Technology Fast 500™ companies achieved revenue growth ranging from 212% to 87,037% from 2017 to 2020, with median growth of 521%.

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MANTA Recognized in 2021 Gartner® Market Guide for Active Metadata Management

Data lineage platform MANTA today announced its inclusion as a “Representative Vendor” in 2021 Gartner Market Guide for Active Metadata Management.

The report found that organizations are increasingly turning to metadata management solutions to address emerging data management challenges. While metadata management has been used in one form or another for decades, it is becoming more important as enterprises become more data-intensive. “Active metadata management is seen as a set of capabilities that enable continuous access and processing of metadata that support ongoing analysis over a different spectrum of maturity, use cases and vendor solutions.” The report identified that “increased demand for orchestrating exiting and new systems has rendered traditional metadata practices insufficient”, and that “organizations are demanding “active metadata” to assure augmented data management capabilities”.1

MANTA is a world-class data lineage platform that automatically scans your data environment to build a powerful map of all data flows and deliver it through a native UI and other channels to both technical and non-technical users. With MANTA, everyone—from data science teams, cloud architects, and compliance teams to business leaders at the highest level—gets full visibility and control of their data pipeline. MANTA’s extensive lineage capabilities, unique features, and advanced filtering options make the platform an unbeatable solution that allows users to finally understand how their data enters and flows across systems to make data a truly enterprise-wide asset.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: NWO.ai

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at NWO.ai. In this interview, co-founder and co-CEO Pulkit Jaiswal talks about what NWO.ai has to offer, how it is connected to SAP, and what’s next for the startup.

E-3 Magazine: Why did you start NWO.ai?

Pulkit Jaiswal: Prior to beginning my journey with NWO.ai, I was an entrepreneur in the drone industry. During this time, I understood the power of providing actionable insights as-a-service to large enterprises, powered by data that was previously untapped. Shortly after that, I started building signals that predicted geopolitical volatility for trading purposes, recognizing how global relations and natural disasters could disrupt standard patterns. After achieving a profitable run, I realized the asymmetry in data that exists between hedge funds and large companies – hedge funds often know more about specific industries than companies within them. Essentially, NWO.ai was born out of the realization that I could provide corporations with the same level of access to data and reveal actionable insights.

How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jaiswal: As we speak, global supply chains are crumbling while the cost of raw materials for most consumer goods has skyrocketed, in part due to rising inflation and a parabolic adoption of e-commerce. Moreover, geopolitical instability has reached an all-time high, and living with uncertainty is the new normal for businesses today. COVID-19 has created a new social, political, and economic world order – one that is increasingly driven by cultural narratives and online discourse. In fact, the online narrative is single-handedly driving demand for certain consumer goods and creating completely new product categories at an exponential pace. NWO.ai’s natural language processing engine enables clients to surface the fears, motivations, and demand drivers underlying various signals, providing them with unprecedented access to the Why behind a narrative. Whether it’s figuring out which new product categories are about to break out or finding anomalous interest in demand for certain products, NWO.ai has successfully helped clients stay ahead of the curve, enabling proactive rather than reactive decision-making processes.

How are you connected to SAP?

Jaiswal: We are thrilled that NWO.ai has premiered as one of the first data providers to join the SAP data marketplace. This new feature, part of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, enables businesses and IT users to directly consume partner data offerings that are available on SAP Store. We also have former SAP executives at the helm of our company: our COO, Miroslav Dimitrov, directed the SAP.io Foundry in Berlin, and our CTO, Imogen Low, led machine learning efforts for SAP in Singapore.

How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?

Jaiswal: Besides our collaboration with SAP DWC, we are also lucky to have graduated from SAP.io’s Berlin Foundry Program. As part of the program, we had the chance to interact with and learn from various industry experts, stakeholders, and potential customers, which in turn helped us achieve a product-market fit.

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