Video-Powered Virtual Storefronts Fuel The Next E-Commerce Boom

According to Gartner researchers, live commerce is one of the hottest digital selling trends as retailers and even B2B companies engage customers with personalized sales through streaming video. To be clear, these are not yesterday’s social brand ambassadors. TVPage has pioneered this latest trend, offering an AI-based, cloud platform that brings together store associates, approved influencers, and products for the most dynamic online e-commerce machine to date.

“We are at the forefront of social e-commerce, using video to put virtual yet personalized salespeople directly in the online store,” said Allon Caidar, co-founder and CEO at TVPage. “It’s a full cycle marketing engine for customer engagement and online shopping, turning companies into their own social media destination that pops up as people search for products.”

Bustling virtual storefronts

Large retailers and other companies worldwide are using TVPage to replicate the kind of expert selling consumers crave. For example, when a retailer signs up, they gain a virtual storefront for their own sales associates, as well as independent influencers, all of whom serve as social brand ambassadors. Using a mobile app or web browser, these ambassadors keep consumers engaged by uploading videos, photos, and other information about products on the retailer’s website. They use social media to share their content, answer customer questions, and invite interested consumers to special online events.

“Consumers can chat with social brand ambassadors anytime to find out if a product comes in a different color or size,” said Caidar. “Ambassadors might decide to schedule beauty makeovers based on the questions they’ve received, or spotlight gaming releases that reflect breaking trends. Customers can purchase products directly from their videos.”

Companies can set and monitor social ambassador metrics from one dashboard, paying their own employees based on individual performance goals. TVPage also helps its customers find and manage independent influencers, including sourcing and paying freelance social ambassadors.

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Increasing Team Effectiveness with SAP.iO Startup Cloverleaf

Team effectiveness helps employees integrate, increases employee satisfaction, and improves productivity. Cloverleaf, a startup in the Future of Work cohort at the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco, helps to build great teams and improve employee engagement using existing employee data and assessments to provide insight into increased team effectiveness. We sat down with Cloverleaf Co-Founder Darrin Murriner to better understand the imperative for building great teams.

Q: What does Cloverleaf do?

A: Cloverleaf helps build great teams and improve employee engagement using existing employee data and assessments to provide insight into increased team effectiveness. From teams at small businesses to large enterprises, we equip employers and empower employees to give the greatest contribution to their organization and have the most fulfilling opportunity in their role. Cloverleaf gives users intelligent nudges and reminders before and after meetings to improve their team behavior.

Q: Why is team effectiveness so important?

A: Thriving teams have higher levels of productivity and higher levels of employee engagement. Creating strong teams is important because decreased levels of employee engagement lead to higher absenteeism, more errors, accidents and defects, lower productivity, lower profitability, and lower job growth.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted the need for Cloverleaf’s solution?

A: With many employees now working remotely, teams need to learn how to add value to their organization in a new environment. By providing team-based coaching in the flow of work, we give leaders the tools and insights they need to be effective leaders with remote and cross-functional teams. The goal of our product is to increase transparency and trust in a way that leaves everyone feeling a stronger sense of belonging and purpose. As a result, we have inclusive team environments that improve productivity.

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The Eyes Have It: The Future Of Human-Machine Relations

Has this ever happened to you? Shopping for fresh vegetables at your local market when you notice that special someone across the aisle? And when your eyes lock, you know there is that kind of Mona Lisa smile directed at you behind the mask. You can’t help but feel the sparks fly and that something amazing is about to happen – just from a single look.

That’s what one company is planning to make happen in the workplace of the future. But with a twist! This kind of eye contact is all about making the daily work of employees more convenient, ergonomically-friendly, and even fun by controlling applications based on user intention – via eye tracking.

The future of human-machine interaction

Munich-based enterprise software company 4tiitoo is a leader in eye track interaction. Their mission – to make work more productive, healthy, and attractive to workers.

4tiitoo’s Natural User Interaction to all Applications software platform, or NUIA, revolutionizes the way people interact with devices by using machine learning to model eye control/tracking to predict user intention.

This kind of hands-free eye control provides increased efficiency and a better user experience for people (like me) glued to their workplace computer by reducing mouse-click interactions.

An escape from the perpetual mouse trap

This may be hard to believe, but the humble, ever-steadfast computer mouse is now over 50 years old. And let’s be honest. It has not evolved enough to address the enormously complex and rapidly evolving human-machine computing environments.

Think about it. 4tiitoo posits that an average user like you or I will make thousands of mouse clicks, maybe even tens of thousands, in a given work week and cover several kilometers a day of mouse movement.

With 20-30% a day spent on mouse interactions, user productivity is not what it could be. Plus, that little mouse is still not the healthiest of interfaces to use in terms of repetitive motion stress.

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SAP.iO Startup Cuéntame Supports Mental Health in the Workplace

In 2020, the global pandemic and the related economic uncertainty have increased stress levels for employees around the world. The loss of productivity caused by the surge in mental health disorders is estimated to cost companies a trillion dollars per year. We sat down with Regina Athie, the founder of SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco startup Cuéntame, to discuss mental health and better understand Cuéntame’s solution, which supports the mental health of Spanish-speaking employees in Latin America and North America.

Q: What does Cuéntame do to support mental health?

A: Cuéntame provides personalized mental health services and resources for all employees at their convenience. By using questionnaires and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, we are able to place employees on tailored tracks that suit their needs best because mental health solutions are not one-size-fits-all. Cuéntame offers a full spectrum of tools, lessons, and coping techniques, including mediation, webinars, podcasts, and psychotherapy.

Q: Why did you found Cuéntame?

A: Each of Cuéntame’s co-founders has a unique experience with mental health in their personal life. For me, I realized there was a need for more creative mental health solutions when my dad was diagnosed with depression, but our insurance refused to pay for any treatments. Depression is just like a physical illness, such as cancer, yet society and employers do not make it a priority. Cuéntame provides a tailored digital solution to meet mental health needs for Spanish-speaking employees at any company.

Q: How has the importance of mental health in the workplace changed since the beginning of the pandemic?

A: Before the pandemic, mental health was seen as a luxury. It didn’t focus on preventative measures–instead, it focused only on providing support to employees in a crisis. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, mental health is largely about providing tools to support employees and their families cope with the symptoms of our current situation, whether it is depression, anxiety, loneliness, or burnout. Our treatments to these problems include providing tools to overcome these symptoms, teaching resiliency, and creating communities of support in and outside of work.

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Beyond Smart Cities: How Drones And Robotics Revolutionize Building Inspections

Underneath the gleaming surface of modern megacities is an archaic patchwork of antiquated building inspection processes long overdue for a 21st Century makeover. Meet H3 Dynamics, a cloud-based inspection services platform that’s using drones and ground robots as the eyes and ears of engineers currently grounded by the pandemic, and long hampered by last century norms.

h a level of safety, efficiency, and accuracy not possible before.”  

Perfecting the human plus machine equation

Headquartered in Singapore, H3 Dynamics’ customers include companies and government agencies worldwide across a long list of sectors such as smart cities, real estate, maritime, oil and gas, utilities, renewable energy, and mining. Customers might be private equity firms that own facilities, insurance companies, site operators, safety inspection and certification organizations, or regulators involved in legislating safety mandates. H3 Dynamics also has clients that resell its digitized visual monitoring services to their own customers. What customers have in common are hard to reach sites, from the tallest skyscrapers to remote industrial outposts that defy the most intrepid human being’s effort to scale. But this isn’t a story about machines replacing people.

Drones and ground robots, as well as people, can capture information from buildings with video and other camera images, bringing this data into the H3 Dynamics platform. The system uses technologies including AI and 3D modeling to create an interactive map that displays defects on the scanned structure surfaces, classifying potential risks, whether aesthetic anomalies or unsafe areas that require repair. Civil engineers or other recognized industry experts review and validate the automated findings. Customers can generate a written report that details safety risks. In addition, the company has created shelter systems where drones and other robots can get batteries recharged, and upload data to the H3 Dynamics cloud.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Supervizor

Alban Clot, co-founder and Managing Director (Sales & Operations) of Supervizor, is a graduate of ESCP Europe. Alban began his career in the consulting industry. He held several positions until he became a partner within an independent consulting firm. He then co-founded Supervizor with Cyrille de Gastines and held the position of Director of Operations. Alban is now leading all business development, marketing and operations teams and is in charge of the international expansion of Supervizor. In this interview, he talks about what his company offers and what’s next for Supervizor.

E-3 Magazine: Why did you start Supervizor to begin with?

Alban Clot: Supervizor is a financial audit and internal control software for CFOs of mid-market and large companies. They usually need to get rid of accounting errors and comply with anti-fraud regulations but rely today on inefficient manual internal controls and outdated external audits that waste time and money. Supervizor is the first automatic financial anomaly detection software dedicated to corporate finance that leverages AI to analyze 100 percent of transactions and instantly highlight anomalies and frauds, remotely and on an ongoing basis. Supervizor was created in order to resolve a pain every company encounters. The technology is the result of more than 10 years of research. The goal is to respond to a problem that companies encounter during their audit process. Indeed, the need to bring auditors to the premises and the long and costly processes are difficult for many of them. Supervizor has created a remote and automated audit solution to facilitate the audit process. After several years of use, 100 percent of the accounts analyzed revealed significant anomalies.

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Exploring Circular Technology That Enables Sustainability, Inclusion, Net-Zero Waste, and Circular Cities with Dr. Garry Cooper of Rheaply

Dr. Garry Copper, neuroscientist turned sustainability technologist and circularity advocate had a pivotal moment – that our field is one-noted and we need to build a reuse bridge to capture value left in materials to transition to a sustainable world, a fly-wheel of wealth for communities who have been left out in the linear economy. Led by curiosity and studying how people remember and forget, he stumbled on CE, and his life was changed forever. He is the CEO of a Chicago-based technology start-up Rheaply that helps manage material flows and the life cycle of assets in the circular economy through reuse, realizing the 4.5 trillion dollar opportunity. 

I met Garry a few months back at a Green Biz event and had chills after hearing him evangelize how the “circular economy can only be realized when it’s real for everyone, and everyone can participate. Materials flow everywhere.” I was blown away as he described his purpose “to make his story not remarkable,” empowering more people and particularly women of color to participate and not just be a passive stakeholder in making our communities sustainable. Rheaply is a part of Circular-City Chicago in tri-sector partnerships including local non-profit community champions. We pull on the threads of digital divide and food sovereignty, and hydroponic farming in Chicago too.

The future is bright. In Episode 45, he explores his journey as someone who wants to make an impact, and a black man in an almost exclusively white environment for most of his career. His dream for Rheaply is to operationalizing a net-zero waste strategy and help businesses be efficient in a COVID world by reducing holding and carrying costs, capturing material value and leveraging spend avoidance. However, we diverge and in a provocative discussion to explore the business case “let’s keep our marketplace on Earth” (not to be missed)!

As we unpack the business model emergency for circularity, the big question emerged…has COVID accelerated or decelerated climate and sustainability transition? We talk about recent weather disruptions and fires in California, and the burning question is “can you do business when folks can’t go outside?” The Earth is the business case. It’s not climate change, it’s a climate emergency. We also talk about doing the right thing particularly when it comes to social responsibility in forced child labor and the black lives matter movement. Do either of these pressing social issues really “need” a business case or is this a space to step up and be good stewards in business?

One of Rheaply’s key partners is SAP and Rheaply is currently in the SAP.iO Foundry. Big shout out to John Licata at SAP.iO. Garry explores his journey as a start up founder with lessons earned for other technologists. Also shout out to John Holm, a friend of Supply Chain Revolution from Pyxera Global, and a Circular Cities-Chicago advocate. Also, shout out to Harold Chapman for all the work you do to feed and teach the students in Chicago that there is sustainable way to live, eat, and learn. 

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Computer vision in supply chain – a chat with Cogniac

Cogniac is a company that uses convolutional neural networks to quickly and painlessly automate visual inspection tasks in all kinds of scenarios.

I invited Cogniac CEO Chuck Myers, and Cogniac CTO and co-founder Bill Kish to come on the podcast to tell me more, and we had a fascinating conversation where I learned how their solution is being used in scenarios as diverse as railroads, automotive companies, and timber yards.

To learn how supply chain leaders improve end-to-end supply chain visibility, download the research study of 1,000 COO’s and Chief Supply Chain Officers – “Surviving and Thriving How Supply Chain Leaders minimize risk and maximize opportunities


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Foundry New York startup Rheaply Featured on The Digital Supply Chain podcast

We live on a planet of finite resources so it makes a lot of sense to make the maximum possible use of all the resources we have. This is the fundamental tenet underlying the Circular Economy (which we have talked about previously on this podcast), and it is also the principle that Rheaply is building a platform to address.

Rheaply is a startup working with the SAP.io foundry in New York and they have developed a platform to allow organisations maximise use of their assets, saving money in the process, and avoiding unnecessarily sending items to landfill.

Rheaply’s Chief of Staff, and Head of Sustainability to joined the podcast to come on the podcast and explain how Rheaply works.

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FindMine for SAP Commerce Cloud Now Available on SAP® App Center

FindMine, a New York-city fashion tech start-up, announced that its FindMine app for the SAP® Commerce Cloud solution is now available on SAP® App Center, the digital marketplace for SAP partner offerings. FindMine for SAP Commerce Cloud allows brands and retailers in fashion, beauty, and home goods to help customers answer the age-old question, “How should I use this?” for every product.

Providing guidance to e-commerce shoppers in choosing outfits has historically meant lots of manual work. FindMine learns to mimic a company’s stylists through Artificial Intelligence to truly scale outfit guidance. This lifts online revenue and shopper engagement. For consumers, it recreates the experience of getting styled by a personal stylist. FindMine for SAP Commerce Cloud achieves significant revenue gains by showing shoppers three different ways to wear each item, resulting in higher CLTV, AOV, UPT, conversion, and margin.

Achieving this experience without automation is physically impossible for most retailers. With FindMine, every outfit, furniture/decor set, or makeup look can feature in-stock products, maximizes revenue lift, and looks like it’s been hand-picked by the company’s merchants or stylists. Most importantly, it reinforces what the brand stands for and differentiates it from competitors. FindMine for SAP Commerce Cloud has reduced time around this activity by more than 90% for merchandisers.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: RoadGoat

Kurosh Hashemi is the founder and CEO of RoadGoat. Prior to starting RoadGoat, Kurosh founded and led the Ultraviolet LED Lighting business at Philips Lighting, which was acquired by Apollo Management. Kurosh also has extensive expertise across the Internet of Things and location data. He earned his MBA at UC Berkeley, where he was a Haas Merit Scholar. In this interview, he will talk about why he founded RoadGoat, what his solution has to offer, and what’s next for the company.

E-3 Magazine: What exactly does RoadGoat offer?

Kurosh HashemiRoadGoat is a pocket travel guide. We provide user-generated data for over 4 million travel destinations – neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Travelers can use RoadGoat to figure out how safe a place is, whether an area is low-risk for COVID-19, if it is tagged for business travelers or foodies, and much more. We even provide a travel map for users that they can automatically update with all their social media accounts, business trip data, fitness trackers, Google Maps, and more. We initially started as a consumer app but we’ve now teamed up with Concur to deliver the same great experience for business travelers.

How does your solution work?

Hashemi: At the heart of our technology is a database of over 4 million travel destinations. Our users contribute meaningful insights about each of these destinations and we supplement this guidance with some more data-driven insights such as information about COVID-19, safety, when to go, budgetary ratings, and more. All that customers need to join RoadGoat is a WIFI-enabled device, as it is a completely free platform.

Why did you start RoadGoat to begin with?

Hashemi: We started RoadGoat because we felt that there was a lack of information about travel destinations. While sites like TripAdvisor, Google, and Yelp give great context about local businesses, no one is providing context about neighborhoods or towns – that’s where we come in. We help you understand if a destination is good for business travelers, nightlife, foodies, and more. Is it safe? What’s the COVID-19 situation? Is it LGBTQ+-friendly? Our users rate, rank, and tag destinations to help guide each other.

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Podcast: Digitizing your inventory with 3D printing – a chat with Ivaldi CEO Espen Sivertsen

I’m a big fan of 3D Printing, and have been ever since seeing the Replicator on Star Trek! So, when I heard that one of the Ivaldi, one of the startup companies in the SAP.io New York Foundry was in the 3D Printing space, I was very keen to chat with them.

Espen Sivertsen, the CEO of Ivaldi, graciously agreed to come on the show and we had a fantastic chat about how Ivaldi is helping organisations digitise their inventory (and we got to hear from his 3 year old daughter!).

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast – feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn how supply chain leaders improve end-to-end supply chain visibility, download the research study of 1,000 COO’s and Chief Supply Chain Officers – “Surviving and Thriving How Supply Chain Leaders minimize risk and maximize opportunities”.

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Where are they now? Revisiting the Hot 25 Startups for 2020

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to fully convey what a strange and difficult year this has been for the travel industry. While the stress of COVID-19 has permeated every sector and role, it seems particularly challenging for startups and their founders – many that ended 2019 with great momentum as part of an industry that was in the midst of record growth.

The good news is there are many travel startups that are finding ways to not just survive but in fact thrive through this extraordinary year, whether by reconfiguring budgets, pivoting their products, developing partnerships, identifying new opportunities or a combination of all four.

On Monday next week we will release our selection of the Hot 25 Startups for 2021. In preparation for that, we have checked in with the companies that made the cut one year ago – our Hot 25 for 2020. We asked them to answer two questions: 

  • Despite the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, what have been a few highlights of 2020 for your company (any partnerships, funding, change in strategy, pivots, etc.)
  • What are your priorities for 2021?

We heard from almost all 25.

Bacarai

  • Highlights: In the spring, we completed the SAP Concur Accelerator, which paved the way for Bacarai to be exposed to the broader business travel market. 
  • Priorities: With demand for student travel at a near standstill, we’ve turned our focus to building out more features in our platform. We don’t expect much to change in the first half of 2021 and are really looking towards the spring of 2022 for group travel to bounce back (pending a vaccine).

Hotailors

  • Highlights: We have taken advantage of the downturn in business travel and used this lull to develop our market offer, our technology, strategic framework and human capital. Just before the world went into lockdown, we were invited to join a three-month SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco acceleration program, which we completed successfully. We built an integration between our tool – which services business travel for extended workforce – with SAP Concur and SAP Fieldglass. We’ve also created new solutions to align with the new reality, such as strengthening the “duty of care” aspect of our technology. We have also been developing an AI module, which will allow a user to find a hotel that fits their preferences a lot quicker and more precisely. Our innovation has had interest from Oracle, and we will be further developing the idea using their Cloud solution. We also raised $3 million, which has given us financial security during the pandemic and has allowed us to focus on developing our innovation and technology.
  • Priorities: Our solution is part of the digital transformation in business travel – and ironically, it’s easier to introduce it when business travel isn’t taking place. We have strengthened our sales team and prepared a three-pillar sales strategy, which we are already implementing. First, our analysis shows that small- and medium-sized companies will start traveling again quicker than corporations, therefore, we have channelled our sales efforts in this direction. We are also reaching out to companies and sectors whose employees need physical meetings and hence travel right now – for example production plants and shipowners. Second, we have created an offer for TMCs that is an annual revenue share (when these customers start travelling again), which will allow TMCs to focus their energies on their core business, while their business clients in turn will gain access to the newest travel technology that will increase their safety and reduce their travel spend. The third pillar that we have been developing is channel sales, in cooperation with our strategic partners, such as SAP, EY and Oracle. We already see traction on all abovementioned fronts, which shows we have been making the right decisions. To be able to scale our business faster and take full advantage of the current situation – and with commitment from one of our strategic partners – we are looking at running an A round in 2021.

Jet-Set Offset

  • Highlights: The global pandemic highlighted the climate effects of travel, as we witnessed firsthand the drastic reductions in emissions and short-term environmental benefits when air travel halted. This has increased consumer awareness about carbon emissions from flying, and as we return to flying, Jet-Set Offset is making it easy for travelers to be climate positive. At the start of 2020, we participated in the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco B2B travel technology accelerator, with six other early-stage enterprise startups. This led to Jet-Set Offset becoming an SAP Concur partner, and building the first enterprise carbon offset option for SAP Concur customers. Jet-Set Offset is now powering the technology and marketing behind The Good Traveler — a sustainable travel brand started by San Diego Airport Authority and now used by over 20 of the most climate-aligned airports in the country. We’re looking forward to forming even more industry partnerships as we work toward a decarbonized future for aviation. We’ve also developed a partnership with Bluesource, the leading developer of offset projects throughout North America.
  • Priorities: In 2021, our top priority is the official launch of our green flight booking technology. We’ve spent the last several months building a decision support tool for point of booking that provides eco-conscious travelers with the opportunity to book a flight based on carbon emissions — not just price and schedule. Because carbon emissions can vary by up to 20% per flight route, this technology will provide consumers with even more data to inform their travel decisions and support our growing community of sustainable travelers and businesses. The technology also offers even more opportunity for new and exciting partnerships within the aviation industry. We’re also looking forward to growing our roster of climate-focused nonprofit partners to provide even more choices to our Jet-Set Offset users, welcoming new enterprise customers as employees begin to travel again, and fundraising to accelerate our growth and develop new technologies.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: Recotap

Recotap is an account-based marketing and advertising platform. It offers B2B marketers a better way to run personalized and multi-channel ABM campaigns. Using Recotap, marketers can make data-driven decisions to improve marketing and advertising performance and deliver better marketing ROI. In this interview, we will take a look at how Recotap works, how it is connected to SAP, and what’s next for the company.

How does Recotap work?

We offer a fully integrated and automated ABM platform that customers can use to manage their end-to-end ABM workflows. Recotap’s Identify module can help teams to quickly build the account list, which is usually a very time-consuming process. All Recotap-identified accounts come pre-loaded with purchase intent to design effective campaigns. Using our core advertising solution, marketers can precisely target their audience on social media
and major ad networks and engage them with personalized ads. They can also increase ad performance and website engagement using our smart pages module that dynamically alters web content based on the visitor profile. Lastly, Recotap can track and measure the audience interactions across ads, emails, and website activity to build an engagement score that acts as an indicator of account readiness for sales activation.

What are the customer-side requirements? Do they need special technology to use your service?

Recotap is a plug-and-play platform; if the customer has an account list, Recotap can import the data from their CRM systems. We offer out-of-the-box integration with major CRM systems, including Hubspot and Salesforce. If customers need help in building their account list, they can use the Identify module for it. They can also upload their creatives and content into Recotap and use them in advertisements.

Why did you start Recotap to begin with?

As a company, we are passionate about enabling marketing teams with relevant tools, data, and AI capabilities that can bring a significant difference to their daily job. We had a first-hand experience from our previous startups on how handicapped marketers’ roles can become in the absence of proper tools and processes, and that they often have to resort to guesswork. We want to eliminate guesswork and light up the path to success.

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