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How CPG Brands Are Keeping Up With Retail’s Fastest-Moving Consumer Demands

Nobody understands the frustration of consumers who can’t find the products they’re looking for more than the experts at Teamcore, an AI-based startup with operations in Latin America and the United States. Teamcore’s cloud-based software platform uses machine learning to power intelligent workflow automation that tells CPG companies and retailers why products aren’t selling and what they can do about it fast.

“We help CPG companies and retailers make sure products are available when their customers are ready to buy,” said Sergio Della Maggiora, founder and CEO of Teamcore. “Whether someone is shopping online or in a physical store, our retail execution platform based on intelligent workflows helps connect data across the supply chain from warehouse to shelf virtually or in-store, so companies don’t miss out on sales opportunities.”

Based on sales data analytics, Della Maggiora said that Teamcore’s machine learning algorithm detects when products aren’t selling as planned, and in over 94 percent of cases, finds the root cause of the problem before assigning a task. Unlike garden variety alerts, Teamcore’s intelligent workflow notifications keep going until they reach the people who solve the problem. If someone in replenishment can’t find the product in the warehouse to restock virtual or in-store shelves, the workflow automatically routes that task to the appropriate store sales representatives, all the way up to regional store and supply chain managers.

“Teamcore connects the whole CPG and retail team for opportunity detection sales, and doesn’t stop until someone actually fixes the problem,” said Della Maggiora. “Over time, the collected data trains the model, improving its accuracy and ability to make predictions about potential issues.”

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Eye-Tracking: Control Your Computer with Your Gaze

Historically, exceptional situations always give innovations a nudge. When the pandemic hit, companies of all sizes and areas of business had to rethink the ways their workforce would work best in the ‘new normal.’

Many companies have always been investing heavily in how their workforce can work best, whether they are developers, sales and services employees, or in administration. Each has individual needs, but what they all have in common is that they need access to a computer in order to fulfill their tasks. They use a keyboard, a mouse, and touch as the de-facto, standard interaction with the machine. This technology hasn’t evolved much over recent years.

At offices, we are used to working according to ergonomic standards whereas in our home offices we may not have these standards available.

Next Generation of User Experience – From ‘Touch Less’ to ‘Touchless’

Did you know that, on average, 25% of a work day is spent using a mouse, accounting for thousands of clicks and scrolls? We switch between the keyboard and mouse up to 2,000 times per day. In an internal pilot at SAP with 35 users from different departments, almost 500 kilometers of mouse-movement distance was measured within six weeks.

This not only costs a lot of time but also causes stress-related diseases, such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI), also known as ‘mouse arm.’

With the eye-tracking solution NUIA from SAP partner 4tiitoo GmbH Munich, it is possible to provide an innovative tool to employees, working to address their ergonomic situation, reduce mouse movements and mouse-keyboard swaps, and improve efficiency and appearance during customer calls.

All SAP colleagues can order this solution to use in the office and even their home offices.

Following its pledge to flex, SAP’s future of work plans include monitors equipped with eye-trackers by default and the ability to download necessary software just by scanning a QR code.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Clarifruit | e3zine – E-3 Magazine International

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 Clarifruit.

Elad Mardix is the CEO and co-founder of Clarifruit. Previously, he had a distinguished career working for J.P. Morgan in both New York and Hong Kong, where he ran J.P. Morgan’s Asia Technology investment banking franchise. As a senior tech banker, Mardix had the privilege of partnering with some of the world’s most brilliant tech entrepreneurs, taking innovative companies public, advising on transformational M&A transactions, and helping those entrepreneurs realize their dreams. In this interview, he talks about what Clarifruit does and what’s next for the startup.

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Sedna banks $34M for a platform that parses large volumes of email and chat to automatically action items within them

Many have tried to do away with it, but email refuses to die … although in the process it might be (figuratively speaking) killing some of us with the workload it brings on to triage and use it. A startup called Sedna has built a system to help with that — specifically for enterprise and other business customers — by “reading” the text of emails and chats, and automatically actioning items within them so that you don’t have to. Today, it’s announcing funding of $34 million to expand its work.

The funding, a Series B, is being led by Insight Partners, with Stride.VC, Chalfen Ventures and the SAP.iO fund (part of SAP) also participating. The funding will be used to continue building out more data science around Sedna’s core functionality, with the aim of moving into a wider set of verticals over time. Currently its main business is in the area of supply chain players, with Glencore, Norden and Bunge among its customers. Other customers in areas like finance include the neobank Starling. London-based Sedna is not disclosing valuation.

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Investors pour funding into logistics-focused communication system

Workplace collaboration software provider Sedna Systems said Monday it has landed $34 million in funding to grow the reach of its system that is designed to wean distributed organizations off a reliance on email.

Although the software is applicable to a range of sectors where decentralized teams use multiple communications channels to coordinate, Sedna sees a sizable opportunity in the global logistics industry, founder and CEO Bill Dobie told JOC.com.

Founded in 2017, London-based Sedna initially gained traction in the bulk shipping sector, based on Dobie’s background in that sector. It has since attracted customers in a range of maritime and logistics verticals, including third-party logistics providers, ship services agencies, and commodity traders.

The $34 million series B round was led by New York-based venture capital firm Insight Partners, an active early-stage investor that has backed companies in the logistics space for 25 years, partner Rebecca Liu-Doyle told JOC.com. Among its recent moves are leading project44’s $100 million round in December and funding into last-mile technology provider Bringg and freight payment platform PayCargo. Insight also has a longstanding stake in supply chain management software provider E2open.

“The sectors that we find attractive are large, complex, and confusing,” Liu-Doyle said. “Logistics is a massive market, with $1.5 trillion spent in the US alone. It’s vast, with stakeholders that need to coordinate highly important transactions. But we’re by no means only logistics-focused investors. We’re enterprise-focused investors. We want to catch inflection points in the transformation of industries.”

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Cutting carbon with AI: Emitwise CEO on making sustainability profitable

On January 20, on his first day in office, US President Joe Biden signed the country back into the Paris Agreement.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that action on climate is “vital in our discussions of national security, migration, international health efforts, and in our economic diplomacy and trade talks.”

But while the anti-climate rhetoric of the last four years has been consigned to history, the effects of pumping out more carbon will last for decades to come.

The US is responsible for 13 percent of global emissions, and China recently signaled in a virtual climate summit that it is willing to cooperate with the rival superpower on the climate crisis.

China’s own five-year plan for 2021-25 aims to increase its share of renewable energy, and for the country dubbed ‘the world’s factory’ to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

President Biden said in April that the US is aiming to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent to 52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. A more aggressive target than China’s, but one that doesn’t go far enough for some.

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Tech Behind AR Startup Adloid

2016-founded Gurugram-based Adloid has been powering retailers, including the likes of Tata Motors, Asian Paints and Tanishq, with augmented reality(AR) and deep technology to provide better customer experiences. According to Founder and CEO Kanav Singla, the 55-employee strong Adloid team has helped retailers, in the automobile, home décor, eyewear, jewelry and cosmetics industries, helping them reduce returns by 18 percent. The startup enables companies to augment trails and product catalogues, offering a close-to-real-life shopping experience. The AR technology is tailor-made for every client, allowing access through all devices– smartphones, tables and desktops.

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Pexapark launches first renewable PPA pricing tool to account for technology and local weather conditions

Provider of software and advisory services for post-subsidy renewable energy sales, Pexapark, has announced it has added a new pioneering feature which accounts for site- and technology-specific production to its renewable energy pricing system, PexaQuote.

PexaQuote currently supports developers and investors managing over 250 GW of global renewable energy investments as the industry pushes further into a subsidy-free future. The renewable energy PPA market is expected to exceed 10 GW this year, with over 5.5 GW already signed across 68 deals since the start of 2021. According to Pexapark’s ‘PPA Times’ report, this rapid growth is being driven by the entry of large corporate buyers, which are setting new records for volume of PPAs across Europe.

However, as the market is becoming more mature and offerings more structured, many renewable energy companies must now deal with increased analytics demands to master the complexity of PPAs, and thereby reduce structuring and execution losses amidst heavy competition for limited liquidity. Renewable energy companies have also continued to battle against opacity around price data in the market, limiting their ability to accurately value potential PPAs for new assets. Among others, site- and technology-specific characteristics are key price determinants when assessing the correct market value in any PPA transaction.

PexaQuote accounts for and adjusts prices in line with all relevant factors such as a given site’s local weather properties and production profile based on type of renewable energy technology in line with the chosen PPA structure.

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‘Shopify for physical stores’ raises £1.3m

Retail disrupter Mercaux has secured £1.3 million in new debt financing from Flashpoint Venture Debt. 

The London firm helps transform retail stores from simple point of sale, into multi-purpose centres that deliver a personalised in-store customer experience and omnichannel sales, as well as serve as customer acquisition and remote selling channels.  

It achieves this by deploying built-for-purpose modular in-store digital platform that connects stores to eCommerce and other systems, such as OMS, PIM and CRM.  

The company’s in-store solutions are operated by store associates, or self-served by customers, and also reveal a rich pool of in-store customer behaviour data that can be leveraged in other channels. 

Mercaux’s clients include Stadium Goods, Dufry, Holland & Barrett and TENDAM (formerly the Cortifiel Group), operating in more than 1,000 stores across the world.  

Founder and CEO Olga Kotsur said: “What Shopify is for eCommerce, Mercaux is for physical stores.  

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How Staple is Helping to Power the First Mile of Data Processing

We talked to Ben Stein, CEO at Staple about converting documents into structured data and here is what he said about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Ben Stein: We are all doing well, thank you! Like most of the world, all team members have been involuntarily separated from friends and family. Our team is decentralized across Singapore, Vietnam, India and Sri Lanka. Our relationships have shifted online, and that is something we have grown accustomed to. Thankfully our team, our families and our friends are all doing well.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Staple.

Ben Stein: I previously worked with KPMG in Australia, Europe and North America for almost a decade, then in various corporate positions in London and Singapore. After working with clients in banking, energy, manufacturing and real estate, I noticed persistent inefficiencies in both enterprises and SMEs around data management. I left my CFO position at the time to explore how deep technology (“deep tech”) might present potential solutions to these inefficiencies. I joined EF (joinef.com), where I met my co-founder, Josh, a Ph.D. computer scientist. Together we met with more than 150 companies to understand their most pressing pain points, and we built Staple to address them. 

Staple’s solution can read, interpret, extract and reconcile data from semi-structured and unstructured documents, regardless of layout or language. Currently, we support more than 90 languages, and we are helping customers process data-heavy workflows in Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and Indonesian. 

How does Staple innovate? 

Ben Stein: There is a lot of hype around big data, RPA, AI and analytics and their potential to rapidly accelerate the digitalization of business. What many don’t appreciate is that these technologies can’t function without a core ingredient: clean, structured data. RPA and bots are fantastic innovations, but they can only work with structured data. There is so much reliance on data, yet enterprises struggle to access, unlock and use it at scale because the data is not available in a standardized, accessible format. Without structured data, RPA bots cannot function, analytics tell an incomplete story, and information for decision making is either not timely, inaccurate, or not useful. 

Many businesses are unable to reap the benefits of automation technologies as they cannot cross the divide between structured system needs and the unstructured or semi-structured realities of business. It’s the classic adage of “garbage in, garbage out”: unless meaningful, accurate, standardized data is ingested from the outset, RPA and automation implementations will fail. It’s important that digitalization agendas have proper regard for the “first mile of data processing.” 

We dedicate a lot of effort to building software that employees actually enjoy using, as opposed to software that employees are forced to use. We don’t think there should be a distinction between software for SMEs or software for the enterprise; it should all just be software to be more productive. We also have a sharp focus on developing solutions that anybody – from the most junior employee to a highly technical CTO – can use. We’re working on tools that allow non-technical users to develop new AI models without touching a line of code. This introduces a level of flexibility that was previously out of reach for many users.

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Gappify, Inc. Announces Closing of Equity Financing

Gappify, Inc. (“Gappify”), a provider of digital workers for the accounting enterprise, today announced that it has completed a financing round led by Stage 2 Capital. As part of the transaction, Stage 2 Capital Managing Partner, Jay Po, will join Gappify’s Board of Directors.

Gappify, whose team consists of former accountants and KPMG auditors, will use the funding to invest in new product development and accelerate sales and marketing efforts.

“Gappify is excited to build innovative, industry-leading products that help corporate accountants close their books faster and in a compliant and efficient manner,” said Jotham Ty, CEO and founder of Gappify. “This investment will enable our team to develop autonomous solutions for more processes within the Controllership, and provide our customers an enhanced experience with robust capabilities and deep system integrations.”

“We were impressed with Gappify’s vision for modernizing the accounting profession,” added Stage 2 Capital’s Jay Po. “With more CFOs prioritizing efficiencies and compliance in their accounting organization, we see an enormous opportunity to partner with Gappify to accelerate digital transformation efforts and create immediate value for the Controllership function.”

Other participants in the financing round include SaaS Ventures, Manila Angel Investor Network, Pasudeco Investment Management Corporation, Overtime.vc, and former Oracle CFO Jeff Epstein.

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SAP Transportation Management System Merges with Sedna’s Software

The integration of SAP Transportation Management System (TMS) with Sedna Systems’ team collaboration and email management solution will allow shippers using both products to gain a whole new level of control over transportation management-related data.

Logistics operations have evolved significantly in recent years and the industry is now seeing more companies embracing digitalisation to ensure efficiency in their businesses. The newly announced partnership between SAP and Sedna Systems solidifies the software giant’s position as a leading provider of the latest technologies for the logistics industry. 

In October 2020, SAP has released an enhanced SAP Logistics Business Network that enables companies to jointly manage logistics transactions and obtain valuable insights across the complete value chain. The addition of new capabilities within the cloud-based global logistics network aims to increase value chain visibility, traceability, collaboration, and reach.

Stefan Sauer, Global Solution Lead for Ports, Terminals, and Shipping Lines at SAP, said in an interview that the company developed a proof of concept to test and evaluate the idea of merging SAP TMS with Sedna’s capabilities.

The integration will allow data that is normally locked away in an isolated email or within a TMS to be more accessible based on Sedna’s smart tagging system that provides cross-company transparency.

Sedna Systems Founder and CEO Bill Dobie mentioned that the company has had several integrations with SAP across its customer base, allowing clients using SAP solutions to organise email and prioritise emerging relevant information. Additionally, Sedna’s integration with SAP TMS is designed to unify all logistics-related conversations and documentation in one place.

“Like bulk logistics, these transactions and customer communications are managed through emails and siloed inboxes. The ‘cc effect’ and unstructured chat creates endless threads, repetitive and redundant conversations, and context catch-up that needlessly bloats email volume,” Dobie further explained.

Incorporating SAP Transportation Management System into Sedna’s Solution

SAP’s TMS is designed for both shippers and logistics service providers. It manages all areas of transportation processes within a company such as transportation planning and optimisation, freight tendering, and change management.

On the other hand, Sedna connects to SAP systems to create tags and import customers’ transactional information. The solution, which also integrates with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, allows messages that come into the email platform to be automatically tagged to the appropriate transactions so clients can maintain a full audit trail of their projects.

Lakshmi Baskaran, Vice President of Engineering at Sedna Systems, said:

“A customer order that is created in SAP Transportation Management is automatically integrated with Sedna.”

She explained that users can refer to the SAP customer order and the relevant data from their platform with a single click, real-time information about the order. Using the same connections, inbound documents received via email can be linked to other directions including SAP’s TMS.

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Getting Energized to Level the Playing Field

A conversation with Amanda Niklaus, PPA Transaction Manager in the renewable industry.

The Road Less Traveled

What initially drew you to the energy industry?

During my Master’s studies, there was a mining boom in Australia. A lot of money was put into energy research, particularly for oil and gas. The Head of my university department suggested that I pursue mathematical economics in energy and work with some prestigious supervisors from the industry which I did. After graduation, I worked as an economist for the government and then in investment banking where we were looking at M&A opportunities. At the time, I found working within this very male-dominated industry a bit unsettling, and left for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) where I worked on providing training for investors and traders and we looked at battery viability for participating in different markets. A lot happened and changed over the time I worked there and that is one of the elements I like about the power market sector: it’s very dynamic, constantly evolving.

When I came back to Switzerland, I read about Pexapark. They were very new at that time and had a lot of potential. I thought it would be exciting to work with a focus in renewables and to help developing a business. I was right — it’s so far been an incredible experience to be part of and contribute to Pexapark’s development and growth.

What’s the most satisfying part of your role at Pexapark?

I really enjoy working across markets and looking at different issues, that clients are encountering or questions they are trying to answer. While our business is very specialised, I feel like a request is never ever the same. It’s always new, there is so much to learn constantly!

What’s your secret sauce that you bring to work with you each day?

A ‘can do’ attitude and resilience.

Making Strides in Renewables

What thoughts are going through your head (if any) and what are you experiencing when you find yourself to be the only woman in the room?

That’s often the case to be honest. With clients, I do not let that disturb me, I cannot. Otherwise I am going nowhere. It is of course harder to ignore for someone who works in this environment every day. There are many studies about the ‘Onlys’ — referring to the only woman in a team. A notable one is from McKinsey, showing that women in this situation often receive judgement or doubt about their own area of expertise. They feel under a constant pressure to provide a proof of competence compared to their male colleagues. The sad part is that you don’t know if it was intentional, or it is just a dynamic of the competitive environment. That is not always clear. What is clear to me — there is a way to improve the situation. A more gender- balanced team is very important and I’d like to think I try my best to influence in that direction.

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Getting Energized to Level the Playing Field

A conversation with Amanda Niklaus, PPA Transaction Manager in the renewable industry.

The Road Less Traveled

What initially drew you to the energy industry?

During my Master’s studies, there was a mining boom in Australia. A lot of money was put into energy research, particularly for oil and gas. The Head of my university department suggested that I pursue mathematical economics in energy and work with some prestigious supervisors from the industry which I did. After graduation, I worked as an economist for the government and then in investment banking where we were looking at M&A opportunities. At the time, I found working within this very male-dominated industry a bit unsettling, and left for the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) where I worked on providing training for investors and traders and we looked at battery viability for participating in different markets. A lot happened and changed over the time I worked there and that is one of the elements I like about the power market sector: it’s very dynamic, constantly evolving.

When I came back to Switzerland, I read about Pexapark. They were very new at that time and had a lot of potential. I thought it would be exciting to work with a focus in renewables and to help developing a business. I was right — it’s so far been an incredible experience to be part of and contribute to Pexapark’s development and growth.

What’s the most satisfying part of your role at Pexapark?

I really enjoy working across markets and looking at different issues, that clients are encountering or questions they are trying to answer. While our business is very specialised, I feel like a request is never ever the same. It’s always new, there is so much to learn constantly!

What’s your secret sauce that you bring to work with you each day?

A ‘can do’ attitude and resilience.


Making Strides in Renewables

What thoughts are going through your head (if any) and what are you experiencing when you find yourself to be the only woman in the room?

That’s often the case to be honest. With clients, I do not let that disturb me, I cannot. Otherwise I am going nowhere. It is of course harder to ignore for someone who works in this environment every day. There are many studies about the ‘Onlys’ — referring to the only woman in a team. A notable one is from McKinsey, showing that women in this situation often receive judgement or doubt about their own area of expertise. They feel under a constant pressure to provide a proof of competence compared to their male colleagues. The sad part is that you don’t know if it was intentional, or it is just a dynamic of the competitive environment. That is not always clear. What is clear to me — there is a way to improve the situation.A more gender- balanced team is very important and I’d like to think I try my best to influence in that direction.

Did you have any female mentors or role models? How can we facilitate more mentorship initiatives?

In my first job as an economist, I had a female mentor. Since then I have had other mentors and role models, but they haven’t been women. This might be because there are not too many women in leadership / senior positions in my industry to support other women — which is key to how women help each other to grow in other industries. Studies have shown that mentoring and networking activities designed for women are key to break through the glass ceiling and to remain in top positions. Multi-level mentorship and leadership programs are necessary in providing dynamic social support, including promoting gender awareness and building network to support sustainable career development. There are successful mentoring and leadership programs where high-potential women are trained in the company’s leader pipeline. I believe that such programs help increasing female representation at the managerial and C-level.

I am part of the Women in Wind program organised by the Global Energy Wind Council. Through this program, I was given the opportunity to mentor another participant of the program who was from the same industry. Women in Wind is a great example of a mentoring program, particularly to create a network. To be honest I wish I could also participate as a mentee and a few of us mentors from the program have said the same thing. It’s extremely helpful to be able to share experiences and have a support group and of course to network.

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