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Rheaply redefines circular economy in architecture

When a building gets demolished, or refurbished, what happens to its parts? They might get destroyed, or just thrown away to the back of a junkyard, never to be seen again – or, they will get reused. And it’s that last option that Garry Cooper Jr, founder of Rheaply, decided to tackle when he launched his enterprise asset management venture in 2016. Rheaply is a digital platform that serves the circular economy, essentially enabling the rehoming of parts of buildings and equipment just before a structure is torn down, placing them in new, local buildings in construction, in a bid to enhance upcycling, sustainable architecture and local enterprise.

Ohio-born Cooper is now based in Chicago and the idea to found Rheaply was born there, thanks to his keen observation skills and entrepreneurial mind (while now he operates in the construction and architecture world, his background is in science). ‘It was super organic,’ he says. ‘I came to Chicago in 2008, and studied at Northwestern University, trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. I noticed in our lab we had lots of material that we were not using, from chairs, to plastics, chemicals, and I kept hearing people saying, oh if only I had this or that, and I knew we had whatever they needed somewhere in our closet. So I started a resource sharing platform – it was basically a cart!’

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The metaverse could be tech’s next trillion-dollar opportunity: These are the companies making it a reality

The metaverse is one of the hottest buzzwords in tech, and this far-reaching vision of a next-gen internet will rely upon an entire ecosystem of companies to make it a reality – including two startups from SAP.iO’s portfolio. Expivi and VNTANA were both identified as leaders in the 3D modeling and capture space by CB Insights. Both solutions are integrated with SAP and are available on the SAP Store.

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Meta inks partnership for 3D ads in step toward the metaverse

Meta Platforms Inc will make it easier for brands to run three-dimensional ads on its Facebook and Instagram social media platforms through a new partnership with an ecommerce technology firm.

The integration with VNTANA will allow brands to upload the 3D models of their products to Facebook and Instagram and easily convert them into ads, VNTANA said on Thursday in a press release.

The move is a stepping stone into advertising in the metaverse, said VNTANA chief executive Ashley Crowder, referring to the futuristic idea of a collection of virtual worlds that can be accessed through devices such as headsets.

Before VNTANA’s integration with Meta, advertisers would need to reformat 3D files to be compatible with Meta’s ad systems. Now, brands can use VNTANA to easily upload and convert the files into ads without technical expertise in working with 3D images, Crowder said.

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Queen of Raw and MIT Solve Release Fabric Footprint Impact Report

What if you knew the true cost of your clothing? Not just the price of the tag, but the cost to the planet as well? What if you can discover the amount of water, carbon emissions, chemicals, and water saved by each of your purchases? Did you know that one t-shirt takes an average of 700 gallons of water to produce? That’s enough clean water for one person to drink for three years. With the global textile market expected to hit $1.23 trillion by 2025, less than 1% of the material used to make clothing is recycled.

Now there’s a way to discover the sustainability score of each of your purchases via Queen of Raw’s marketplace. Queen of Raw now calculates the watertoxinscarbon emissionand waste saved by upcycling the $288 billion worth of excess textiles (raw materials and finished goods) rather than manufacturing new ones. Presented with sustainability metrics backed with authenticity on the blockchain, consumers can have a more engaging journey.

“Consumers want to see sustainability metrics when making sales decisions, and in fact, 43% Gen-Zers seek out companies with a solid sustainability reputation. With $360B in disposable income, this seems like a significant opportunity for brands and retailers,” Stephanie Benedetto, co-founder, and CEO, Queen of Raw, told CoinGeek.

Queen of Raw, together with MIT Solve, released a no-code mobile e-commerce impact measuring tool on the blockchain. The Fabric Footprint Impact Report meets the increasing consumer demand for greater transparency. It allows buyers, sellers, and consumers to see sustainability metrics quickly and easily where they can make informed choices with the swipe of a smartphone, track progress, and get rewarded for brand engagement. The impact report is also available to brands as a white-labeled offering, with a single sign-in for ease of use.

“The Fabric Footprint Impact Report empowers all participants across the supply chain in real-time and utilizes impact-analysis technology that requires no more than a smartphone to access,” Phil Derasmo, Co-Founder and CTO of Queen of Raw, said. “Removing any guesswork and keeping track of environmental and economic progress while accessing a trusted network, so companies can solve a very real problem in the face of climate change quickly, easily, and cost-effectively with no-code,” because everyone needs to understand the impact of their purchasing decisions.

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100+ startups driving innovation in recommerce tech

Queen of Raw, Lizee, and EON were named leading startups in recommerce tech by CB Insights. Consumer demand for more sustainable and affordable products is driving the shift to a more circular economy and one of the main pillars of this is recommerce, or giving old items new life instead of discarding them.

From retail-as-a-service to authentication to managed marketplaces, companies in the retail industry are making the process of giving old items new life more seamless and efficient.

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The tech.mn Podcast: Making Manufacturing Connections With David Klein of Inspectorio

It’s safe to say that for most consumers, any thought of “manufacturing” lives and dies on whatever store shelf they decide to grab their shampoo from. But there’s a lot — LOT — more that goes into any good reaching that shelf in the first place. Unfortunately, the process is so complex that a lot of important data gets muddied thanks to the often outdated process used to track it. David Klein, Co-founder and President of Inspectorio, is out to change that.

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Analyst Cam: Specright – making standards and specifications sexy

Matthew Wright of Specright presents on the huge payback from precise specifications in products, formulas and packaging.

Specright was one of the startups in their Sustainability cohort last year but as you will hear precision in specifications can have an impact in every  process which touches raw materials, ingredients, formulas, packaging and finished goods.

Matthew’s passion comes from a couple of decades in the packaging industry. As he describes in his book The Evolution of Products and Packaging, we have seen an explosion in SKUs and complexity in supply chains. As he says, existing ERP, PLM and other software were designed before complexity grew exponentially, and the lack of focus on specifications is the root cause of many supply chain issues we are seeing. BTW, Gartner identified them as a Cool Vendor in their Supply Chain category in 2020.

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meQuilibrium and Executive Networks Release New Report on Trends Driving Successful Hybrid Work

Despite embracing new remote and hybrid work, employees fear being left behind in career advancement if they are not working onsite. A third of employees (32%) prefer the hybrid environment but nearly half (43%) believe in-person work is best for their career advancement. That’s according to a new survey of 912 full-time U.S. workers, “The New Hybrid Workplace, Built on Resilience, Transparency, and Trust,” co-authored by Jan Bruce (meQuilibrium) and Jeanne Meister (Executive Networks).

“It is no longer true that being physically present in the office results in more opportunities for career advancement, as the past two years of remote and hybrid work have shown,” said Jeanne Meister, Executive Vice President, Executive Networks. “For those employees working hybrid or remotely, the avenues for increasing their visibility within the organization are not always clear-cut.”

HR policies have largely focused on supporting on-site workers, because they traditionally have comprised the majority of the workforce. In fact, before the pandemic, only 6% of those employed worked primarily remotely and about three quarters of workers had never worked remotely, according to NCCI. But as more employees experience the value and flexibility of hybrid work, leaders must re-imagine the business landscape and communicate these changes to every employee.

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Career And Business Advice From VC Investors And A Billion-Dollar Female Founder

PS27 Ventures, an early-stage investment firm founded by Jim Stallings, hosted the Female Founders Forum on March 4, 2022, which among the speaker line up, included a panel of venture capitalists, as well as Ellen Latham, founder of Orange Theory Fitness, an exercise franchise that hit $1 billion in sales in 2018.

There were multiple takeaways specific to entrepreneurship — from what makes a good pitch deck to how to appeal to investors. However, many of the insights were also relevant for solopreneurs who don’t intend to raise money or even in-house professionals who don’t plan to start a business.

Tailor your message

“What can you do to make it easy for the investor to preview the company? Write up the email so it embeds the top 3-5 things to see right away. Make it easy to click on your website….If you’re on a pitch night, tailor to the audience. Create a 30-second, 1-minute and 5-minute elevator pitch, plus the pitch decks. You want different formats for audiences, for an initial introduction, for detailed in-person meetings. Accommodate…” — Sallie Jian, SAP.iO New York

SAP.iO is an incubator within SAP, the software company. Jian’s advice to make it easy on the investor is transferable to any relationship you’re trying to nurturecurrent boss, prospective employer, customer, colleague or other collaborator. While Jian’s example focus on good email writing (so important!), it also applies to your LinkedIn profile (include an easy way for people to get in touch) or even email signature (include your website or LinkedIn URL so people can easily learn more about you).

Creating multiple pitch formats depending on where you are is another gem applicable to both business owners and professionals. You want to have different ways of introducing yourself (the networking pitch) because, depending on the situation, you will have more or less time and your audience will want to know or need to know different things about you. Accommodating your audience, as Jian rightly puts it, is a way of showing you understand and respond to their needs.

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Walmart Canada Is The First Major Canadian Retailer to Offer Carbon-Neutral Last Mile Delivery

Walmart Canada is the first major retailer in Canada to offer carbon-neutral last mile delivery for e-commerce purchases sold and shipped by Walmart, including online grocery.

This Walmart-funded program will offset an estimated 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking over 5,000 cars off the road, in its first year. This program is incremental to Walmart’s global ambition to achieve Zero Emissions by 2040 without the use of offsets for scope 1 and 2 emissions. Funding carbon offsets for last-mile delivery of e-commerce purchases, including online grocery, allows Walmart Canada to make an immediate impact while working with our third-party carriers to reduce emissions along with us.

Carbon offsets allow companies and consumers to fund projects that reduce the effects of climate change, compensating for the emissions created from actions like transportation. Walmart has engaged EcoCart, a sustainability technology company, to calculate and validate the emissions created from online orders and to purchase carbon offset credits from high-quality projects in the exact dollar amount required to reduce or avoid those emissions.

“Funding carbon offsets for last-mile delivery in our eCommerce operations is an opportunity for Walmart to make an impact today as we work towards becoming a regenerative company and eliminating emissions across our business,” explains Laurent Duray, SVP, eCommerce, Walmart Canada. “Minimizing the environmental impact of the last mile has been top of mind as customer behaviour has shifted towards increased reliance on our fast, easy and convenient delivery options for grocery and online orders.”

The projects Walmart’s offsets will support are aligned with the company’s journey to becoming a regenerative company and will support a portfolio of Canadian-based initiatives that work to either actively remove carbon from the atmosphere or prevent future carbon from being emitted. The project portfolio is projected to include initiatives that protect forests, enable composting and waste diversion, aid with refrigerant management, and turn biomass into fuel. These Walmart-supported projects will also ensure they benefit the communities as part of their scope with key economic and environmental elements such as providing jobs, education opportunities, or protecting endangered species and biodiversity.

EcoCart is proud to collaborate with Walmart Canada as they become the first major retailer in Canada to offer a carbon-neutral last-mile delivery,” said Peter Twomey, COO, EcoCart. “It’s so exciting to see industry leaders like Walmart work toward a more sustainable future that benefits everyone. By funding offsets on behalf of their customers for last-mile delivery, Walmart is making a positive impact on our collective efforts to regenerate the environment.”

Along with calculating and validating Walmart’s last-mile emissions and sourcing and vetting high-quality carbon offset projects, EcoCart will also be providing quarterly impact and emissions reporting. This reporting will allow Walmart to track estimated emissions and establish benchmarks for its third-party carrier partners.

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Analyst Cam: Algramo – Redefining CPG plastic packaging

Analyst Cam: Carlos Oliveira of Algramo presents on a different way to package and consume CPG products. Reduced plastic pollution, bite size economics, other benefits.

Algramo’s delivery mechanism is a vending machine dispenser where consumers refill in their reusable smart containers. Carlos says these containers can last up to 250 uses. RFID IDs in the containers and mobile apps help track consumption, container life and reuse patterns and also have a gamification angle. Carlos goes into some of the dispensing and sanitation technology.

The value propositions – Retailers save on shelf space. Producers like Unilever, Nestle, Colgate and Clorox are some of their customers who ship in bulk and save on packaging. Consumers pay for bite-size purchases at their point of need e,g, detergents are sold in public laundromats.  The world benefits from reduced plastic pollution. Carlos presents on data on their plastic, water and C02 savings.

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Startup of the Month: VNTANA 3D Commerce Solution & Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) has been entangled in the recent whirlwind of metaverse chatter on the internet. Though, as a practical tool, the power of AR to substantially move sales for retailers is evident. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen rapid advancement in AR capabilities and brands are seeing the benefit of applying this technology in their sales and marketing strategies. Signaling the widespread adoption of 3D and AR technology for brands and retailers, VNTANA experienced a 500% expansion in customers and partners in 2021. Fashion League talked with VNTANA to get a better understanding of what the future of 3D and augmented reality looks like in fashion.

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VNTANA Posts 500% Customer Growth In 2021

VNTANA, the industry leader in 3D eCommerce technology, reports a record year for customer, revenue, partnership and employee growth in 2021. The company saw a 500% expansion in customers and partners, confirming the continued industry adoption of 3D and Augmented Reality (AR) technology for brands and retailers in eCommerce.

VNTANA’s patented optimization algorithms allow brands to use their existing 3D designs to instantly create high-fidelity, fast-loading 3D assets that are automatically optimized for use across web, social media, advertising, game-engines and the metaverse. This is a game changer for brands across fashion, footwear, furniture, tools, sporting goods and more that are looking to optimize the consumer shopping experience.

“The rapid growth of VNTANA highlights the industry’s increasing need to innovate and adapt to meet the evolving requirements of the online consumer,” notes Ashley Crowder, co-founder and CEO of VNTANA. “3D and AR tech is a way for brands to engage with their partners, vendors and customers across multiple channels and provides opportunities for integrations into current eCommerce strategies. We’re excited about the potential for VNTANA to work alongside retailers to reap the benefits that this technology provides to the bottom line.”

To meet the needs of its customers, VNTANA’s staff also doubled in 2021 and will continue to grow through 2022, with plans to expand its sales, marketing, customer success and engineering teams. VNTANA’s 3D Scanning Partner Program is also projected to increase company partnerships in the coming year.

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The Shift To A Circular Economy: How Tech Is Shaping The Future Of Sustainable Retail

Consumers are increasingly pushing for sustainable business practices in retail, driving businesses to reassess what they produce — and how. From ingredient upcycling to plastic alternatives to smart trash cans, we look at the technologies placing sustainability at the center of retail products and processes.

It’s no secret that industries in the retail sector are some of the most wasteful and polluting in the world. The fashion industry, for example, generates over 92M metric tons of waste every year. Meanwhile, global food waste totals around 1.6B metric tons.

Consumers are increasingly demanding change. Fifty-two percent of textile industry experts say consumers are driving the heightened focus on sustainability in fashion, which includes more transparent supply chains, alternative materials, and secondhand shopping. Similarly, 65% of consumers say they want food products that are sustainable, from alternative proteins to compostable packaging.

Regulatory agencies are also driving the shift to a circular economy focused on waste reduction. For example, the European Union is creating a strategy for sustainable textiles that aims to create products that are more durable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient. It’s set to be adopted in early 2022. In the US, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in 2021 directing federal institutions to draft regulations that protect the consumer’s right to repair electronic devices and other tools. This could reduce electrical waste and lengthen product life cycles.

The shift to a circular economy will doubtlessly pose major challenges for retailers, but it’s also a massive opportunity — and new tech solutions are emerging all the time to make the transition easier. From resale platforms to regenerative farming to autonomous delivery vehicles, we examine how technology is shaping the future of sustainable retail.

White-label solutions in the rental space allow brands to easily set up their own renting operations. For instance, Paris-based Lizee allows brands to enter the circular economy by renting (or reselling) their inventory. The company, which has worked with the likes of Adidas and Decathlon, helps power all the logistics associated with resale or rental operations.

An innovative solution for single-use plastic packaging comes from Chile-based Algramo. Its circular platform allows users to purchase bottles for cleaning products, refill them in a store with a smart Algramo dispenser, and pay for the product using an app. In 2020, the company launched in the US by installing dispensers in vending machines around New York City.

On a global scale, manufacturers can resell deadstock fabrics on the online marketplace Queen of Raw. To date, the platform has supported 325,000 buyers and sellers around the world, boasting partnerships with brands such as H&M and LVMH.

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Inspectorio Raises $50 Million To Help Brands Ensure Quality In Their Supply Chain

Brilliant Hire’s Smart Job Matching

Supply chain is a web that spans so wide that many large corporations can’t easily track the entire life cycle for each of its products — let alone capture enough data to ensure that everything is being done to standards and protocol. Carlos Moncayo knows the system all too well as the former founder and CEO of ASIAM Inspector, a company that supports brands and retailers with sourcing operations in Asia, he did everything from inspections to auditing to sourcing. This gave Moncayo deep insight on the many layers of the supply chain and it wasn’t pretty. He noticed a lot of issues surrounding visibility. After 10 years with the company, he was surprised they hadn’t gotten any better.

“We thought with supply chain management and production chain management, the only way to solve [the issues] was to approach it from moving offline relations to online relations and helping companies make sense of the data coming out of that,” he tells Forbes. But at the time, no one was trying to tackle that, so the former founders of ASIAM decided to try it themselves. They launched Inspectorio in 2016 to help companies and brands move their supply chain online and have better visibility and data surrounding quality and sustainability. Since Inspectorio launched its first product in 2017, the company has expanded its product offerings and more than 7,000 customers including Target and Kohl’s have signed on.

The Minneapolis-based startup raises a $50 million Series B round led by Insight Partners with participation from Techstar Ventures, Matchstick Ventures and strategic backers including Flexport, among others, as originally reported in Midas Touch newsletter. Ryan Hinkle, a managing director at Insight, says the firm has been building a relationship with Inspectorio since the beginning of the startup’s life. While the investment could have been sparked by the company’s progress — Hinkle points to the startup’s 93% revenue growth in 2021 — for him it was a bit more personal. His family used to own a clothing store and he remembers helping unwrap shirts and using a measuring tape to ensure the sleeves were the same length and that the size labels matched when he was a kid. Both of which would fall under the quality control assurances Inspectorio looks to provide further down the supply chain.

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