In episode 50, you’ll hear insights on top skills needed in the tech world, what’s driving leadership in global supply chains, the common threads of success in scaling innovation, and how to leverage the SDGs in your partnerships and hiring practices.
Listen as Sallie Jian shares why she decided to lead the SAP.iO NY foundry.
’s estimated that the total amount of data is expected to reach 59 zettabytes this year with 90% of that data created in the last two years alone. With such an exponential increase in data, companies are racing to protect the data they maintain and regulatory initiatives like GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are formalizing standards. BigID is the data intelligence platform that leverages advanced machine learning and automation to allow customers to seamlessly protect sensitive data, be compliant will data privacy laws, and ensure compliance with data sharing requirements. The company offers a foundation product that provides companies with visibility of all their data across the data landscape and additional apps provide added intelligence and specialized insight into privacy, protection, and perspective.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Dimitri Sirota to learn more about the data protection ecosystem the company has built, its future plans, and recent round of funding, which comes at a $1B valuation and brings the total funding raised to $216.1M for the company founded in 2016.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
This was our Series D round. Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global co-led the round with participation from Glynn Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures.
Tell us about the product or service that BigID offers.
BigID’s data intelligence platform enables organizations to know their enterprise data and take action for privacy, protection, and perspective. Customers deploy our product to proactively discover, manage, protect, and get more value from their regulated, sensitive, and personal data across their data landscape. Our ML-based data discovery foundation helps organizations know their data across their entire data landscape (from mainframe to cloud to on-prem), and our app framework lets you action that data – we have apps for privacy, security, and governance that range from a data risk app to a data retention app to a data remediation app and more.
The celebrated Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree arrived in New York recently, ready to take its place as the epicenter of the 2020 holidays. This perennial centerpiece of millions of photos and family memories is a sparkly, over-the-top reminder that while many aspects of our lives are different this year, certain institutions and traditions will not be disrupted. But, where many look at the arrival of the tree and reflect on the pandemic’s impact on beloved holiday traditions, the last-mile delivery industry has a different view.
Last-mile professionals—networks of dispatchers and drivers that get goods and parcels from warehouses and distribution centers to retailers, businesses, and residential doorsteps—make it possible for so many people to stay safely home and receive the goods they need. But, even before the pandemic and the 2020 holiday season, the industry was already struggling to meet its efficiency and customer service goals while using legacy technologies.
Then, virtually overnight, COVID-19 accelerated customers’ willingness to shop online, adding volume to already stressed systems—e-commerce surpassed expectations and grew by over 30% this year. So instead of a measured, steady progression that last-mile teams could gradually absorb, the long-promised changes in customer behavior arrived at lightspeed. This condensed adaptation offered last-mile operations precious little time to match customer behavior or implement more modern, dynamic infrastructure.
Customer behavior has been massively influenced by the pandemic, reducing overall spending and changing purchasing plans. The Deloitte State of the Consumer survey offers a fascinating window into current consumer attitudes and concerns, including shopping intent, with grim implications for the retail sector, which has already seen several notable brands declare bankruptcy. For this year’s holiday shopping, many are expected to forgo Black Friday and crowded malls for the safety and efficiency of their nearest screen. They’ll rely on complex-yet-invisible processes to get purchases from their digital shopping basket to their doorsteps. And retailers are bracing for an expected surge to already high online sales. But exactly how do items get to the customer?
Once an order is complete, items are picked and packed at the local retailer or retailer’s warehouse. From there, packages are sent to a regional distribution center where they’re sorted, routed, and delivered by a driver. That last leg of the relay from the distribution center to the customer’s doorstep—the “last mile”—is an incredibly challenging and fast-moving industry. The logistics industry estimates the last-mile can account for up to 40% of total transportation cost. It’s where things can come together beautifully to deliver on a brand’s promise, or fall apart spectacularly, tarnishing reputations and customers’ goodwill.
So why is last-mile delivery so complicated? Mathematically, it’s one of the most complex problems to solve—how to efficiently route many vehicles with multiple stops and numerous other variables and constraints. In academic circles, it’s known as the Traveling Salesman Problem or TSP. It has applications ranging from logistics to DNA sequencing to chip design. In the real world, it’s a mix of mathematical and human factors.
NYC FinTech Women, an organization created to connect, empower and promote women to advance their careers in financial technology (FinTech), continues to celebrate and recognize women who are driving innovation, leading through difficult times and inspiring the community. In its second year, the Inspiring FinTech Females award recognizes 50 leaders who epitomize the organization’s mission to strengthen the ecosystem across five categories: Founders, Leaders, Money Movers, Network Builders and Product Builders.
“Women are often the ones fighting for equality and this list not only highlights the incredible talents but also celebrates the change agents working within the industry for us all to someday realize equality,” said Edwina Johnson, COO of Alloy & NYC FinTech Women Steering Committee Member. “These are not empty words or hollow pledges for change, these are the people making change happen and innovating the finance industry from a technology point of view and demographic point of view.”
“So many women are doing impactful work behind the scenes, it is time for a list like ours to celebrate them and bring them to the forefront,” added Larissa Carrera, Associate Director of LeFrak Investment Holdings & NYC FinTech Marketing Committee.
For 200+ years, our planet has accepted a linear economic model, where we harvest and extract materials, use them to manufacture some sort of product, and then either our employees or consumers elect to get rid of these items.
It’s easy to understand why this happens. We live in an age of constant innovation within our daily lives. Updates come out daily, apps are launched every week, and new products and technologies are being introduced at an alarming pace. These changes have created a culture in which valuable and accessible assets are often underutilized and consistently replaced with a modified newer version. This leads to the extensive storage of gently used items and assets, or, even worse, their direct disposal to a landfill, resulting in a massive environmental impact. In fact, of all the materials harvested from the Earth every year, we cycle back just 8.6%. Just two years ago, this was a shade over 9%.
According to Forbes, the United States could realize up to $630 billion in savings per year by implementing a circular economy if we could recover these resources.
$630 billion. In savings. Per year.
The Circularity Gap Shift
“The circular economy is based on three principles: designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use at the highest possible value, and regenerating natural systems.”
– Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Circular Procurement
To rise up and overcome the dangers and challenges of climate change and its ripple effect on communities, businesses need to shift their procurement decisions so that the material outputs of unwanted or idle resources become the inputs in new or repurposed products – by implementing the Circular Economy.
This shift to the circular economy is more than environmental impact. It’s about eliminating waste, but also it’s about maximizing the life-span of materials through innovation and creating the conditions necessary to foster innovation, creativity, and – ultimately – address societal needs.
It’s about creating a sustainable economic model that’s better for the globe and all of its inhabitants.
If we realize what is possible with $630 billion in savings per year, the redistribution of those savings can be directed to the people and places that need it the most. They can be used to incentivize organizations to continuously work to create a better home for our future generations.
And if the best results of our current linear economic model are: hemorrhaging savings each year, negatively impacting our climate, and pushing equitable practices out of reach, perhaps instead of asking ourselves, “Is shifting our procurement model worth it?”, we need to ask ourselves: “Can we afford not to modernize and evolve procurement and shift to a circular model?”
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.
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.
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”
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.
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”.
The challenges of 2020 have led many companies to expand their opportunities by partnering with other businesses, including a competitor. Several pharmaceutical giants, for example, forged partnerships to work on vaccines for the disease, while major corporations continued to come together to use their size and scale to reduce carbon emissions.
Global enterprise software company SAP has spent the year forging partnerships to address these global issues, too. Here are examples of the challenges these businesses faced and how they are being addressed.
Queen of Raw
The Queen of Raw marketplace buys and sells sustainable textiles and deadstock, which is surplus fabrics from a production run. With the aid of an unused inventory app that leverages enterprise resource planning system SAP/4HANA, they can automate the tracking and sending of unused textiles.
Using a digital supply chain, unused materials are connected with brands and buyers who didn’t have access to them before. Queen of Raw has rescued over 500 tons of unused textiles and fabrics in its marketplace since the app launched, which use over 1 billion gallons of water in the production process.
The wasted opportunity of these unused deadstock fabrics became more pronounced as Covid-19 shut down textile factories globally, according to SAP. To meet demand, more buyers turned to deadstock fabrics for their supply. The number of Queen of Raw users increased by 40% from March to July, and 80% more transactions were made on Queen of Raw from the first quarter to the second quarter.
SAP started working with Queen of Raw via the SAP.iO Foundry, which helps innovators build products. The partnership accelerated the startup on its mission for a more sustainable and efficient textiles supply chain. As Covid-19 continues impacting various industries, a shift in consumer consumption is allowing Queen of Raw to ensure a more sustainable marketplace.
Imagine a world where businesses execute strategies without worrying about securing data. Now imagine a world where fast paced cybersecurity capabilities enable trusted data to become a source for growth. Guess what? Both are possible today.
A lot of ink has been spilled over data protection and now that National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is here, it’s high time we underscore the importance of secure data becoming a growth driver.
According to a 2020 Accenture report, on average, it makes sense for organizations to look beyond their four walls to protect their ecosystems since cybersecurity programs actively protect only 60 percent of an organization’s business ecosystem. Considering 40 percent of breaches come via this route, organizations don’t have the luxury of being too complacent. This may be why 2019 saw $10 billion in privacy and security company investments at an all-time high, according to Crunchbase. Let’s take a closer look at what’s driving this.
Addressing security gaps
While enterprises are overburdened with privacy laws (GDPR and CCPA), complex attacks, and increasingly sophisticated attackers, means cybersecurity startups are more proactively addressing the need for data protection. This is accomplished by providing best of breed point solutions to address security gaps not easily addressed by slower incumbent security solutions offering broader suites of often poorly integrated features. In the process, they are also helping manage enterprise IT complexities, minimize risk, comply with new regulations and allow for more nimble business processes that can expand opportunities beyond traditional industry boundaries and drive revenue growth, including the pursuit of new digital business models.
Speaking of new business models, enterprises are either already operating on-prem or considering how they can move to the cloud. By aligning with cybersecurity startups, enterprises can focus more on what they are good at while also gaining the agility to align and refine strategic planning to make a more secure transformation to the cloud.
How to thwart evolving threats
Let’s face it. Technology and the threats that often keep IT departments and executives alike up at night are both consistently evolving. As a result, cybersecurity startups often times have more laser-focus when it comes to attracting top talent to tap next-generation technologies (AI, machine learning, blockchain, etc.) to solve specific security problems which can be complimentary to existing security solutions. Thus, startups can help enterprises securely scale, be more relevant in the market and be more responsive when it comes to vulnerabilities/threats tapping the latest innovation.
Having more openness toward outside innovation in today’s volatile global economy should further validate the breadth of opportunity for cybersecurity innovation. Why? There is clearly a need for simple and effective ways to create, enforce, and monitor our security policies/controls across multi-cloud and even hybrid environments. Ideally, this functionality can help businesses aggregate vast amounts of data more quickly, remain more agile and avoid downtime which can hurt operations, reputation and revenue.
Make no mistake. We need to move the typical thought process on security away from the notion that cyberthreats are only an external issue. In fact, it’s quite the opposite case and yet another reason cybersecurity innovation must continue to evolve.
Verizon’s 2019 Insider Threat Report found that 57% of database breaches include insider threats and the majority, 61%, of those employees are not in leadership positions when they compromise customer data. This only strengthens the idea that making sure your digital operations are secure, scalable, compliant and interoperable is crucial not just your IT department but to compliance officers as well as those in sustainability, procurement, finance and strategy alike. Thus, collaborating with security startups is more important than ever in a world being forced to increasingly operate remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I would be remiss not to mention that data is increasingly valuable, and the backbone to AI, so tapping next-generation cybersecurity technologies is no longer a nice have. It’s a requirement to secure data and leverage it for growth opportunities. At least it should be for the modern enterprise that will witness over 500 billion connected things by 2030.
Impact of data and analytics
Due to the advancement of the internet of things, data is being used like never before in human history. The ability to safeguard data privacy, create new intelligent applications for IoT and also use data to predict next generation applications opens the door for startups to help manage complexities in IoT systems, especially as cloud computing moves closer and closer to edge computing.
This is why SAP.iO Foundry Berlin just kicked off its Data & Analytics cohort and why SAP.iO is proud to accelerate cybersecurity innovation through companies such as BigID, a SAP.iO Fund portfolio company focused on helping organizations know their data for privacy, protection and perspective. We have also recently welcomed LISNR, a startup focused on contactless authentication using ultrasonic sound verification, to our SAP.iO Foundry New York Fall Cohort.
COI Energy was selected as a winner of the New York State 76West Competition for their work to improve building energy performance and grid optimization with software-as-a-service solutions.
76West is an unparalleled competition focused on growing entrepreneurs and attracting resources from the U.S. and around the world to build clean energy businesses and jobs in New York State’s Southern Tier region. Administered by NYSERDA, the 76West Competition was launched in 2016 as a $20 million four-year initiative to grow the clean energy ecosystem in the Southern Tier with funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Clean Energy Fund. Due to its significant positive impact for the region, the competition is being funded this year by Empire State Development through the Southern Tier Soaring Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The Competition supports technological and other innovation initiatives to meet New York State’s climate and decarbonization goals.
SAP.iO recently announced the launch of SAP.iO Foundry New York Fall 2020, SAP’s virtual accelerator program that supports startups led by diverse entrepreneurs.
“We are super excited to be part of SAP.iO Foundry NYC Cohort,” says Cogniac’s Co-Founder and VP of Systems, Amy Wang, PhD. “We look forward to introducing Cogniac’s Drag and Drop Visual AI Platform to SAP customers in automotive and manufacturing industries, to bring visibility, focus, and agility and enable them to lead in the new Industry 4.0 world.”