Turn Waste Into Value With Analytics

Trusting your data, telling stories about your success and knowing that every act, no matter how small, can help win the fight against waste was some of the advice shared by Queen of Raw and Topolytics, two gamechangers in waste management at the recent SAP Sustainability Summit panel discussion about orchestrating ecosystem innovation for impact.

“Zero waste can only be achieved with the help of data,” said Michael Groves, Founder and CEO of Topolytics, a data analytics business for waste managers. “Data shows public and private players exactly what is happening to their waste and will help them build better intervention options and create closed loops for recovery.”

Groves was one of the people on the boat hosting the Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit (OPLS) in 2019, a research expedition to better understand the scope of plastic pollution and to develop cross-industry solutions and partnerships to solve this global challenge over the next decade.

Seeing is believing

Whenever the ship approached clumps of sargassum seaweed, the participants would stop their meetings and jump into zodiac boats with their snorkeling gear. But they didn’t see any fish. And at first, they didn’t see much plastic either. That’s because it’s often not visible. Plastic in the ocean breaks down into small particles that are caught in seaweed and ingested by marine creatures.

“What you don’t see is the real problem,” says Groves, winner of the Circular Economy 2030 challenge sponsored by SAP and Google that year. A geographer who was appalled by the amount of plastic he encountered in South East Asia long before people began talking about the crisis, Groves believes waste is still not getting the attention it desperately needs.

While we may not actually see the damage, the data is irrefutable. An alarming 60 percent of waste produced in cities around the world gets dumped or leaked into the environment, and an equally alarming 61 percent of people globally don’t have access to proper waste management infrastructures. It’s a thorny problem because the waste value chain is very complex and opaque, with many private and public sector players and a significant informal sector around the world. To make matters worse, there is a huge mix of materials, each requiring different methods of recovery and recycling.

Realizing that money follows data, Groves developed a solution that uses analytics and machine learning to follow trash as it travels. Clear data and insights are fundamental to spurring investments in new infrastructure and innovation in the sector. With useful data available about what waste is where and in what quantity and quality, companies can then procure this waste much more effectively and bring the materials back into their production processes through platforms like SAP Ariba software.

Debunking myths

“Many companies think they know what’s going on with their waste, but they are usually surprised by the truth,” he says. “There is huge potential to unlock economic and social value that is currently just draining away!”

One person helping fashion retailers stop the drain is Stephanie Benedetto, co-Founder of Queen of Raw, a marketplace to buy and sell unused textiles, from organic cotton to some of the highest quality luxury deadstock fabrics that would otherwise be burned or buried.

Benedetto was inspired by her childhood experiences growing up in an immigrant family in the Garment District of New York. Her grandfather would collect unused clothes from the neighborhood and repurpose them into beautiful, fashionable items for local sale. It was a profitable, sustainable business that inspired her when she later became a corporate attorney on Wall Street, specializing in technology and sustainability. When the crash came in 2008, she decided to start her own company.

When Benedetto first started talking to brands and retailers about sustainability years ago, it was seen as nice to have. People responsible for sustainability were new in the position, and they did not have big budgets. Her first big challenge was debunking the myth that sustainability has to cost a lot of money.

She realized that retailers became paralyzed when faced with objectives such as becoming 100 percent sustainable by 2030. “You wouldn’t know where to start on day one if you heard that. It’s too much, too fast,” she says. “We go to the retailers and help them pinpoint the valuable waste in their supply chain. We look at their unused inventory and their deadstock. We help them sell it on the marketplace, and we provide tools to minimize waste going forward.”

Once the retailers are making money on their unused inventory, she explains, they can start putting their savings into doing other good work such as paying their workers better wages and using innovative technology and sustainable materials without increasing overall capex expenditure.

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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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project44 Acquires ClearMetal Inc.

project44 announced that it will acquire San Francisco-based ClearMetal, a market leader in international supply chain visibility and predictive analytics for enterprises. ClearMetal’s patented artificial intelligence (AI) enables organizations to optimize their supply chains and provides customers with easy access to trusted, live information about their orders and shipments. project44’s acquisition of ClearMetal is the latest growth milestone preceded by building on tremendous 135% YoY growth, crossing the $50M ARR mark, and being named a Leader in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant. This acquisition places project44 on the cutting edge of logistics AI, enabling customers to improve agility, and resiliency across their global and multi-modal supply chains.

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Pangaia introduces ‘digital passports’ in apparel

Apparel brand Pangaia has today partnered with traceability solutions provider Eon and will leverage its CircularID Protocol to introduce ‘digital passports’ in its garments.

With product-specific QR codes linked to a cloud-based platform, Pangaia customers will be able to scan items and access a digital archive of lifecycle data including carbon emissions output and water usage.

Natasha Franck, founder and CEO of Eon, said: “Through product digitisation, Pangaia is redefining the relationship between brands, products and customers – pioneering an entirely new model for sustainable commerce and taking a mission-critical step towards realising a fully circular business model.”

LiveEO Enters Strategic Partnership with Planet, Setting Preconditions for Rapid Expansion

Earth observation company LiveEO has today announced its partnership with Planet, the leading provider of global, daily satellite imagery and insights. The strategic move empowers LiveEO to massively scale its infrastructure monitoring operations around the globe, avoiding friction in the procurement of satellite imagery.

During the past 12 months, LiveEO has been able to quadruple its customer base by establishing more client relationships outside of Europe, especially in the United States and Australia. In order to accommodate its growing customer base, LiveEO doubled the size of its engineering team and significantly strengthened its infrastructure, with the new partnership being a central component of this effort.

Different from the traditional reseller model prevalent in the satellite data industry, as a part of the Powered by Planet program, LiveEO is able to purchase satellite imagery up front, with no predefined areas of interest (AOIs). Allowing the data usage to be freely and seamlessly adjusted to current customer needs.

“From day one we developed our tech stack with a clear focus on scalability”, says Daniel Seidel, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of LiveEO. Since every newly onboarded customer entails vast amounts of data to be acquired and processed, and with quick turnaround times being one of LiveEO value propositions, velocity is key. “To build scalable applications, we need great APIs to purchase data on a recurring basis without human interaction. In this regard, we consider Planet a role model for other satellite operators in the industry, which at times still handle the ordering process via email.” concludes Seidel.

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Coca-Cola chooses Shippeo to provide real-time visibility for its road transport

The real-time visibility of Coca-Cola HBC’s transportation network provided by Shippeo will allow the company to further improve both internal and external logistics efficiency, by improving collaboration with its carriers.

The deployment of the technology aims to improve service levels, while at the same time reduce transportation costs, due to a reduction in waiting times, improved flexibility, and resources planning.

Valentin Radu, Logistics Technology & Automation Manager at Coca-Cola HBC said: “The scale and complexity of our operation creates a large administrative effort to coordinate with carriers, which makes handling exceptions time consuming. By implementing Shippeo’s real-time transportation visibility platform, we aim to streamline our logistics operations while further improving on-time deliveries to our customers.”

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AI-Driven Dispatch & Routing Software from Wise Systems Now Available on SAP® Store

Wise Systems today announced that its AI-Driven Dispatch & Routing software is now available on SAP® Store, the digital marketplace for SAP and partner offerings. Wise Systems’ software integrates with SAP S/4HANA® and delivers dynamic AI solutions for last-mile operations.

“In today’s fast-moving transportation industry, dynamic solutions that enable fleets to maximize fleet efficiency, reduce carbon footprint, and improve customer experience are needed now more than ever,” said Chazz Sims, CEO and co-founder of Wise Systems. “Integration with SAP S/4HANA and availability on SAP Store extends the reach of our powerful AI platform to the extensive network of companies that use SAP technologies and equips them with a competitive edge in last-mile operations.”

Wise Systems brings a relentless focus on optimizing the delivery experience and outcomes with its extensive suite of AI-driven routing and dispatching capabilities for delivery recipients, drivers, dispatchers, and managers. The company’s real-time, fully automated system is already powering delivery and service operations for a wide variety of customers ranging from multi-billion dollar global enterprises, including Anheuser-Busch and Lyft, to market leaders across food, beverage, parcel, courier, field service, and other industries.

Wise Systems’ platform combines a powerful, AI-driven optimization engine with intuitive user experiences for delivery recipients, drivers, dispatchers and managers. With integration to SAP S/4HANA, Wise Systems pulls orders from the SAP system into the platform, creates optimal routes, and then synchronizes the routing data back to SAP S/4HANA to improve the efficiency and service of last-mile operations.

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Roambee Recognized In Magic Quadrant For Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms’

Roambee is identified as one of the 9 global supply chain technology companies in ‘2021 Gartner Tracking and Monitoring Business Process Context: Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms.’ According to the report, “In real-time transportation visibility platforms (RTTVPs), the data is collected from the carrier rather than from an independent IoT devices as in the case of tracking and monitoring solutions.” The report further states, “It can also extend the visibility beyond the delivery of the product and is often used to track the location and condition of the product in the yard or the warehouse.”

Roambee delivers dedicated monitoring solutions built on real-time location, temperature, spoilage, damage, and tamper signals. It combines such first-hand sensor inputs with non-sensor intelligence to offer trusted insights and foresights that drive logistics automation.

Roambee’s recent award-winning sensor, the BeeSense Air, is an example of dedicated monitoring of multimodal shipments, making it possible for any actor in the air cargo supply chain to get firsthand visibility at a package level. Roambee’s Honeycomb – an immersive location-aware platform coupled with its suite of sensors is purpose-built for applications like capturing demand signals at point of sale, optimizing returnable packaging inventory, monitoring ocean cargo from the first to the last mile, and more.

Too Good To Go Expands Its Food Waste App Nationally Across the U.S.

Not so very long ago, the United States lagged far behind Europe in terms of the widespread availability of food rescue apps. Fortunately, a heightened awareness of the world’s food waste problem has changed this and created opportunities for food rescue companies in the U.S.

Case in point: Too Good To Go’s recent expansion westward. The company, originally started in Denmark, today announced its plans to expand across the United States, following a successful program in select East Coast states. The first stop is San Francisco, with 200-plus food businesses participating, including Mission Chinese, La Boulangerie, and Indie Superette.

Via the Too Good To Go app, users can browse surplus food options from participating restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores at the end of every day. They can then sign up for a “surprise bag” which includes surplus items from these businesses. Depending on the business from which it’s ordered, that bag could include pastries, extra sushi rolls, surplus produce, and many other items.

Too Good to Go brought its app Stateside in 2020, starting in New York City. The company followed that move with a $31 million fundraise at the start of this year, specifically meant to enable a wider expansion around the U.S.

And while the concept of food rescue might be more commonplace Stateside compared to a couple years ago, it’s still unusual in the restaurant biz. Grocery delivery services like Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods address the grocery sector. Canada’s Flashfood app, based in Toronto, Ontario, similarly addresses surplus food in the grocery store via its U.S. partnership with Meijer.

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ClearMetal Recognized as One of the Four Notable Vendors in 2021 Gartner International Visibility Business Process Context

ClearMetal, the leading SaaS platform for international freight visibility, dynamic transport planning and customer experience, today announced it has been recognized by Gartner as one of the four vendors in the 2021 Gartner “International Visibility Business Process Context: ‘Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms’” report.1

According to this Gartner report, “While many real-time transportation visibility platforms (RTTVPs) have expanded capabilities beyond core domestic road transport and now include pieces of, or all, international visibility as well, this research is focused on internationally focused vendors that are not included in the Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms.”1

“ClearMetal is excited to be named one of the four solution providers recognized in the International Visibility Business Process Context of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for RTTVPs. We believe this recognition validates ClearMetal’s position as a leader in door-to-door international freight visibility. The world’s largest shippers trust the quality and accuracy of our data and rely on our platform to provide insights about their freight in real time,” said Adam Compain, CEO of ClearMetal. “We congratulate E2open, TransVoyant and Infor for being named alongside ClearMetal in the International Visibility Business Process Context of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for RTTVPs, as well as the over-the-road vendors featured in the Magic Quadrant.”

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Accenture/SAP to accelerate sustainable transformation

Decades long, Accenture and SAP have been collaborating for many years to help companies to embed sustainability across their entire business operations to unlock new value in their supply chains.

Breaking down Accenture and SAP’s latest partnership

By combining SAP’s technology with Accenture’s Sustainability Services and broad industry knowledge, the two are expanding their current partnership to create new solutions that empower companies to accelerate full decarbonisation in the supply chain, and capture their share of economic growth that a circular economy could bring. 

The new solution

Co-innovating and co-developing, SAP and Accenture plans to create a new solution for responsible production, manufacturing and design. Its capabilities will help companies to embed sustainability metrics across their value chain and supply chains. 

How does it work?

The solution harnesses integrated data from multiple operations, allowing companies to better design and produce products with less waste, better recyclability, and more recycled content. 

By providing this solution, SAP and Accenture hope to help to reduce the growing cost of compliance which has been driven by new regulations. 

“Our work together will enable SAP’s customers, which include 92% of the Forbes Global 2000, to use their core systems to help drive their sustainability agenda, optimize their ESG performance and achieve their goals. This expanded collaboration builds on our long history with SAP — including our joint partnership with the United Nations Global Compact and 3M — and our shared commitment to drive adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Julie Sweet, chief executive officer at Accenture.

SAP’s Climate 21 initiative

In addition to partnering with SAP on this new solution, Accenture supports SAP’s Climate 21 initiative. Climate 21 allows companies to use analytics to measure and minimise their CO2 emissions as well as lower their carbon footprint across a products lifecycle. 

In doing so, sustainability metrics harnessed across the end-to-end supply chain allows for an integrated view of environmental savings and cost impacts, as well as the ability to more easily optimise operations.

“To successfully tackle the greatest threat to our world today, we need to collaborate at every level of business and society. Building on our long-standing and trusted partnership, SAP and Accenture are joining forces to help our customers realize long-term growth in a sustainable way. We’re creating visibility into the environmental impact across the entire value chain, providing enterprises with the insights they need to take the right action and accelerate their transition to the circular economy,” said Christian Klein, chief executive officer at SAP.

SAP.iO a global accelerator

Furthering their efforts to accelerate sustainable transformation, SAP and Accenture began a global sustainability focused accelerator program at SAP.iO

As part of the SAP.iO, the ‘Sustainability Future’ program – the latest cohort to date – aims to help B2B startups in their early stages drive digital transformation and innovation in four target areas: carbon tracking and trading, resource efficiency, climate risk tracking and mitigation, and circular economy.  

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Cogniac Announces Visual Operations Intelligence Platform for Cloud-based Solutions from SAP

 Cogniac Corporation (“Cogniac”) today announced that its Visual Operations Intelligence platform is now available on SAP® Store. Cogniac’s AI, machine vision platform complements the industry cloud portfolio from SAP for automotive and industrial machinery and components industries and integrates with SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud, delivering an AI-based approach to customers looking to extract value from their visual data.

“Today marks an important moment in Cogniac’s growth,” said Vahan Tchakerian, chief partnership officer at Cogniac. “Through our valuable experience in the SAP.iO Foundries program and our partnership with SAP, businesses that use SAP solutions will now have access to Cogniac technology. By offering our platform on SAP Store, we are able to scale more efficiently and deliver exceptional performance in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.”

Cogniac’s Visual Operations Intelligence platform uses no-code AI, enabling companies to maximize the value of their visual data. By integrating with SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud, capabilities of the Cogniac platform are now accessible within the solution’s architecture, providing advanced AI machine vision technology across a variety of industries.

For customers in the automotive, rail, manufacturing, government, logistics, packaging and kitting, and safety and security industries, Cogniac’s AI machine vision platform drives significant process improvements. Through better defect detection, safer operations and increased efficiencies, Cogniac supports many customers looking to achieve Industry 4.0 standards, reduce costs, and optimize their processes.

Building on the Intelligent Enterprise strategy, SAP is expanding its vertical solutions with an ecosystem of industry cloud applications. These solutions complement the existing SAP portfolio to extend the value of joint customer investments.

“The Visual Operations Intelligence platform developed by Cogniac complements our portfolio and enables an AI-based approach to customers looking to extract value from their visual data,” commented Stefan Krauss, SVP General Manager Discrete Industries and Energy and Natural Resources at SAP. “This is a prime example of how co-innovation between our organizations can deliver value for customers. We look forward to continued collaboration with Cogniac to create innovative cloud solutions and applications for customers who want to drive cost-effective and sustainable growth in their industry.”

SAP recently brought together SAP Store and SAP App Center into one single marketplace at store.sap.com. It delivers a simplified and connected digital customer experience for finding, trying, buying, and renewing more than 1,800 solutions from SAP and its partners. There, customers can find the SAP solutions and SAP-validated partner apps they need to grow their business. And for each purchase made via SAP Store, SAP will plant a tree.

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German asset monitoring start-up to expand globally with $6.35m fund

LiveEO, a German-based Earth Observation asset monitoring technology start-up, has secured €5.25 million ($6.35 million) in funding to expand its operations globally.

The Series A investment has been secured from venture capital firms btov Partners, Helen Ventures, DvH Ventures, and Motu Ventures as well as from deep technology investor Andreas Kupke.

Daniel Seidel, co-founder of LiveEO, said: “This funding round is a huge milestone for LiveEO. Over the last 3 years we’ve built up a unique technology stack to analyze earth observation data at scale and we now can realize many new revolutionary features on the basis of this tech backbone.”

LiveEO combines data acquired from satellite imagery and from other sources and then uses artificial intelligence to analyse the data to monitor critical infrastructures such as railways, electricity grids and pipelines.

The startup has plans to introduce their technology in other sectors including construction, mining, insurance, forestry, agriculture and finance.

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Cardano Foundation Announces Partnership With Supply Chain Traceability Solution Scantrust

The Cardano foundation has announced a partnership with Scantrust, a supply chain traceability solution, in order to streamline the supply chain management process, as well as optimising security.  

Scantrust is a company that uses QR codes to bring products online, and aims to turn products and packaging into a “direct connection with consumers”. The company provides protection from counterfeiting, supply chain awareness, and consumer engagement, using blockchain technology to secure, track, and create consumer interactivity with a QR code.

Current Scantrust partners include HP Indigo, Hyperledger, and SAP, and the company has worked with Fortune 500 companies and SMEs across 168 countries. 

One of the areas that blockchain technology has revolutionised is the supply chain. Blockchain solutions have allowed companies to trace, track, and empower the producer and consumer. A number of traceability companies have emerged in recent years, covering industries from food, textiles and high-end consumer products. What they share in common is the ability to create true transparency from the start of the supply chain all the way through to the consumer. 

Advancing innovation in blockchain technology has allowed companies to promote their ethical approach to consumer goods, increase transparency, and secure against counterfeiting. Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, commented on the partnership with Scantrust: 

“Empowering trust and transparency across all industries and digital agreements is at the heart of the Cardano Foundation’s missions. I am proud of our Integrations team, who have worked tirelessly with Scantrust to deliver the first solution of its kind to leverage metadata on the Cardano blockchain. Together with Scantrust, we are helping brands to reconnect with their consumers, increase transparency in their supply chain, and fight counterfeit activity.”

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Verusen named a Top 10 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) has announced the Top 10 Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia. 

The Top 10 companies were selected from the Top 40 Innovative Technology Companies competition, sponsored by Comcast Businessand Cherry Bekaert, and will present at the 2021 Georgia Technology Summit on April 28 – 29.

“These companies demonstrate the amazing talent and innovation in Georgia’s technology industry today,” said Dennis Zakas, Georgia’s Top 40 Innovative Company Awards Chair. “We are eager to watch them continue to grow and contribute to Georgia’s economy.”

The 2021 Top 10 Innovative Companies are:

  • Codoxo, Chamblee – Codoxo builds AI solutions that help healthcare companies and agencies identify problems and act quickly to control costs with artificial intelligence.
  • Florence Healthcare, Midtown – Florence Healthcare is the leading platform for remote connectivity and electronic document workflow management in clinical research, with more than 8,500 research sites, sponsors and CROs in 30 countries.
  • MileAuto, Midtown – Mile Auto is a pay-per-mile auto insurance company using patented computer vision technologies to help low mileage drivers save money.
  • PadSplit, Downtown – PadSplit is an affordable housing tech startup that provides a house-sharing service for the workforce.
  • Roadie, Buckhead – Roadie is a same-day delivery platform that connects people with stuff to send to drivers already heading in the right direction.
  • Stord, Midtown – Stord operates the leading North American omnichannel logistics network using end-to-end logistics services designed to move product rapidly to your end customer—B2B or B2C—with pay-as-you-go pricing and infinite scalability.
  • Ternio, Alpharetta – Ternio is a global fintech platform built on blockchain that connects traditional enterprise, fintech, banking, systems with blockchain infrastructure giving real world utility to digital assets.
  • Verusen, Midtown – Verusen is a Supply Chain Intelligence company focused on materials management that uses AI to provide complex global supply chains material truth for data, inventory optimization and procurement intelligence.
  • Voxie, Alpharetta – Voxie is the conversational text marketing leader that helps retail, service, and restaurant passion brands connect with and learn from their customers in order to drive repeat purchase.
  • Ware2Go, Buckhead – Ware2Go, a UPS Company, is changing the traditional 3PL model to make 1-2-day delivery easy and affordable for all merchants.

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