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Social commerce examples: The power of social influence for online selling

In-app purchasing on social media is convenient. Not only do you have access to millions of potential customers, you can sell to them without disrupting their social experience. That’s the main advantage.

However, this benefit also has a downside. Are consumers truly looking to shop when on social media? One would argue that higher shopping intent would exist in the actual online store. On social media, people are generally looking to connect with friends and family, hear about the latest news, watch humorous and/or inspiring videos, and gain initial top-of-funnel interest in products that would lead them to enter a shopping environment, the online store.

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A dispatch and routing platform to improve deliveries

More and more people are doing their shopping from home these days, and whether they’re ordering groceries, home office equipment, or Covid-19 tests, they increasingly expect their deliveries to be fast and on time.

Companies have struggled to keep up with the rise in orders and expectations. One of their biggest challenges is optimizing the so-called last mile of delivery — when a driver takes packages from a regional hub to their final destination.

Now Wise Systems, a startup that began as a class project at MIT, is offering a dispatch and routing platform designed to make the last-mile delivery experience better for everyone, from drivers to dispatchers to customers.

Wise Systems’ routing solution is built on algorithms and machine learning models that continually improve as they gather more data. The company’s web app, meanwhile, gives a high level of visibility into fleet operations in real time. The mobile app also leverages an often-underappreciated asset in the industry: the drivers on the ground. It enables them to make notes on unique stops, communicate with dispatchers, and confirm deliveries.

“Drivers, regardless of the technology they use, are very, very knowledgeable about every one of their stops and every one of those parts of town, so we believe in harnessing their knowledge to make their experience better,” says Vice President of Customer Experience Layla Shaikley SM ’13, who co-founded Wise Systems with CEO Chazz Sims ’13, SM ’14; CTO Ali Kamil ’16; and COO Jemel Derbali.

The founders began working on Wise Systems in 2014 but say they’ve felt the sense of urgency among customers increase during the pandemic.

“Ultimately what we’re interested in is the perfect delivery experience,” Shaikley says. “What that really means is something that’s predictable, cost-effective, and automated for the people using the product.”

A class project worth pursuing

The founders met in the 2014 Development Ventures class at MIT’s Media Lab, a course that challenges students to come up with ideas that have the potential to impact a billion lives. With the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL), they began exploring ways to use machine learning and data to improve last-mile delivery.

That summer the founders entered the delta v accelerator hosted by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, where they were introduced to companies who would help them hold their first pilots. Delta v was one of several ways MIT helped the founders early on.

“What resource didn’t we use at MIT?” Shaikley jokes. “We applied for every award. I won the Caroll Wilson award; Ali got a transportation scholarship as a graduate student; we did every pitch competition; we were involved in the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. We definitely used every resource possible. We walked into professor Edward Blanco’s office one day and said, ‘We’re starting a company, can you advise us?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’ To this day, the network is so supportive. We were also in [the MIT Startup Exchange’s] STEX25 startup accelerator. Doors are always opening for us.”

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Pexapark’s new service to ‘close trading knowledge gap’ for corporates buying green energy

Pexapark, a provider of software and advisory services for a post-subsidy renewable energy world, has launched a new offering aimed at corporates, as an increasing number enter the market for renewable energy.

Last year saw record numbers of corporations purchasing clean power and that record is set to be broken again in 2021, as corporates increasingly turn to clean power for their energy needs.

According to Pexapark data, the number of corporates signing power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2021 is up 37 per cent on 2020, year-to-date.

This shift is being driven both by energy-intensive industrial companies, such as manufacturers, for whom energy forms a large proportion of their costs, and consumer-facing corporates transitioning to renewable energy as part of their decarbonisation and environment, social and governance (ESG) goals.

As generators of renewable power are mitigating against merchant market risk by equipping themselves with the tools to negotiate 10 to 15 year PPAs, so too are corporations looking to go green with their energy consumption.

Traditionally, corporate buyers have procured energy over one to three-year terms, but in the new world of renewable energy trading, they are having to hedge procurement risk over much longer time periods.

With demand for renewable energy growing, consumer-facing corporates – such as retailers – are signing virtual PPAs for the first time to demonstrate that their operations are being powered by green energy.

Meanwhile, more sophisticated industrial energy buyers are increasingly turning to PPAs as they too face rising ESG pressure to decarbonise their value chain. This type of corporate organisation is capitalising on the added-value brought about by renewable energy which makes them more competitive and puts them in stronger negotiating positions for big industrial contracts.

To do this successfully, however, they need to fill the gaps in their existing energy trading expertise. PPAs are one way of doing this, enabling them to hedge against price volatility and reduce the cost of energy consumption.

Pexapark and its suite of quantitative and analytical tools, can help corporates understand the fair value of energy and how to price risks, in exactly the same way that sellers are having to in this new world of post-subsidy energy trading.

Pexapark’s pre-transaction advisory services to both experienced energy traders in industrial corporations, as well as those corporates seeking to ensure their operations are powered by renewable energy, by helping to compare different PPA structures and look at the overall value of PPAs across their total duration.

Rommero Carrillo, Head of Corporate PPA Desk at Pexapark, said: “As the global energy transition continues at pace, it is clear that corporates don’t want to be left behind and are increasingly turning to renewable energy to power their operations”.

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Wisy is now an SAP Silver Partner

Wisy announced today that it has achieved SAP silver partner status in the SAP® PartnerEdge® program. This is a clear indication of the high level of quality Wisy provides to businesses using SAP solutions.

According to Wisy´s CEO Min Chen,”Wisy’s artificial intelligence combined with SAP technology is a powerful solution to help consumer products companies improve on-shelf-availability and reduce out-of-stocks with real-time factual data from any point-of-sale. The SAP and Wisy partnership enables companies to modernize their retail execution capabilities unlocking next-level data, analytics, and automation to future-proof their business.”

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How CPG Brands Keep Up with Retail’s Fastest-Moving Consumer Demands

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

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

Intelligent Automated Workflows Boost CPG Sales

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

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

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Pexapark to accelerate the energy transition

More than 80 companies across Europe are currently using Pexapark’s Operating System, to manage, sell and buy renewable energy. Over the past 12 months, revenues tripled and the team grew from 20 to almost 50 members, a growth rate that is now recognized by the Innosuisse Certificate.

In 2017, the three co-founders Michael Waldner (CEO), Florian Müller (CTO) and Luca Pedretti (COO), established Pexapark driven by the mission to empower renewable energy players to thrive in post subsidy markets. The idea came up at a time when the renewable energy sector started undergoing a fundamental change with markets transitioning from a heavily subsidized system to an open market. Energy revenues are subsequently becoming volatile, technical and complex to manage, and investors are struggling to oversee their assets in an effective manner.

Headquartered in Schlieren, Pexapark has created a platform that offers investors a more effective solution to manage the energy sales of their wind farms and solar parks. Through its renewables operating system, Pexa OS, the start-up offers an all-in-one solution that helps clients to execute robust strategies for the sale of their renewable power via PPA (power purchase agreement) transactions and other hedging instruments through active portfolio and risk management software and advisory services.

Over 80 leading energy companies including Enel, Uniper, Encavis, RWE, BP and Abo Wind utilise Pexapark’s solutions to support their commercial renewable energy activities. Most recently, IKEA became one of a growing number of major corporates to sign a customer agreement with Pexapark, utilising its platform to support their green energy procurement strategy. Renowned industry giants including SAP.io and EEX have also joined the start-up’s partnership and collaboration agreements list. “Working with such reputable companies is an indication that we are addressing a major pain point in the sector. As the renewable energy industry continues to grow, we envision our start-up becoming a major player worldwide as the leading green energy trading platform,” says Waldner. Thanks to the continued trust by its customers, Pexapark has seen a threefold increase in revenues on a year-on-year basis.

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How CPG Brands Keep Up with Retail’s Fastest-Moving Consumer Demands

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

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

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Wise Systems Raises $50 Million in Series C Financing

Wise Systems announced it has raised $50 million in Series C financing led by Tiger Global Management with participation from new and existing investors that include Section 32, Valo Ventures, Gradient Ventures, and Prologis Ventures.

Wise Systems’ real-time, automated system powers delivery and service operations with drivers worldwide across the last-mile industry. The company will use the financing to further accelerate product development, market expansion across key geographies, and address the increasing global demand for the company’s next-generation dispatching and routing solutions.

“The last-mile industry has undergone radical transformation over the last five years, driven by a combination of technology, customer appetite, and disruptive newcomers like Wise Systems,” said Chazz Sims, CEO and co-founder of Wise Systems. “With this latest round of funding, we’re excited to invest further in our business and continue to push the boundaries of innovation and customer experience, embedding machine learning and AI in service of automation, efficiency and carbon reduction.”

A leader in AI technology for last-mile delivery operations, Wise Systems saw significant growth over the two past years, growing 300% year-over-year, experiencing increased demand for the company’s autonomous dispatch and routing technology across a number of markets. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of other significant developments for Wise Systems this year, including the availability of its platform in the SAP App Store and its launch in Japan. In July, Wise Systems announced a partnership with Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), under the umbrella of Daimler Trucks Asia (DTA), to offer the company’s AI-driven routing and dispatch software to MFTBC customers in Japan. The partnership extends Wise Systems’ reach to the commercial vehicle industry in Japan, one of the busiest last-mile markets in the world.

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NWO.ai Partners with SAP to Help Consumer Packaged Goods Companies Stay Ahead Utilizing Petabytes of External Data

NWO.ai announced it is one of the first data providers to offer a solution – its Consumer Intelligence solution – on the data marketplace for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. The data marketplace is a new feature of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution which enables businesses and IT users to directly consume partner data offerings that are available on SAP Store.

By tracking emerging cultural and consumer behavior shifts globally, NWO.ai provides clients with a significant competitive advantage and helps them stay close to their customers. Specifically, consumer product companies can now leverage Consumer Intelligence from NWO.ai to:

  • Analyze and identify potential demand growth drivers
  • Track global cultural shifts by analyzing billions of data points in under 60 seconds
  • Understand consumer sentiment and the leading indicators behind it
  • Deep dive on microtrends associated with products and categories
  • Identify the influential voices and brands that drive the consumer narrative

“We’re thrilled to be extending our Consumer Intelligence solution to the data marketplace for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud via SAP Store, helping customers to further benefit from valuable petabytes of external data that NWO.ai is continuously analyzing. We are pleased to help customers turn unstructured data into actionable insights,” said Pulkit Jaiswal, co-CEO of NWO.ai.

SAP Store, available at store.sap.com, delivers a simplified and connected digital customer experience in finding, trying, buying and renewing more than 1,800 solutions from SAP and its partners. There, customers can find both SAP solutions and SAP-validated solutions they need to grow their business.

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SundaySky Video Experience Creator Now Available on SAP® Store

SundaySky video platform delivers 20-30% engagement improvement, deepens customer relationships through integration with SAP Commerce Cloud

SundaySky, an SAP® silver partner and leader in video experiences, announced that the SundaySky Video Experience Creator is now available on SAP Store, the online marketplace for SAP and partner offerings. Customers using SundaySky can now accelerate video content velocity, as well as deploy data-driven contextual and relevant experiences on SAP Commerce Cloud sites and via email to outperform acquisition, retargeting, upsell, and loyalty goals. The SundaySky Video Platform is fully integrated with the SAP Commerce Cloud solution. Additionally, data from SAP Customer Data Cloud or core data services can be leveraged for video personalization with SundaySky’s native data connectors.

SAP Store, found at store.sap.com, 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 solutions they need to grow their business. And for each purchase made through SAP Store, SAP will plant a tree.

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The tech company that claims it can stop employees from quitting

The strongest thought that abides in me is that technology can solve everything.

The second strongest thought is that technology hasn’t solved everything… yet.

Which then leads me to worry that I’ll never see the glorious day when it has.

So I was uplifted to rafters unimagined to learn there’s a tech company that’s solved a fundamental problem of corporate life: the unhappy employee.

Laugh all you will — I did — but GrowthSpace‘s tease is a tantalizing one. It insists that 97% of the people who were subject to its technology said it was “an active incentive for them to stay at their company.”

How does it do this magical thing? Well, in the company’s own words: “Say goodbye to pouring budget into training programs with unknown results. Say hello to an algorithm-powered system backed by real-world skill mapping that ensures the perfect match between employees and experts. Every time.”

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Wisy participates in a “Shark Tank” in Las Vegas and wins audience award

Min Chen, CEO of Wisy, presented before a panel of experts at the “Shark Reef” Startup Pitch, the premier event for the consumer goods and retail industry. Wisy won the Audience Choice award given by the audience to the Startup that presents the best solution to the needs of companies in the consumer product good industry and supermarkets. The event organizers selected Wisy for being a resilient, agile, and visionary company.

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MarTech Interview with Ajay Khanna, Chief Marketing Officer at Explorium

Ajay Khanna, Chief Marketing Officer at Explorium highlights more on how B2B marketing will continue to be more data-driven, requiring marketers to focus on multiple data signals and data points to drive better marketing success.

You’ve recently taken over as CMO at Explorium, we’d love to hear more about your role here and what are some of the key marketing aspects you’re first focusing on to deepen optimization (like, hiring, improving/enhancing the martech stack?!)

Explorium offers a unique platform in the data space. It provides an External Data Platform that automatically discovers thousands of relevant data signals and uses them to improve analytics and machine learning. I’ve spent my last seven-plus years working with data products and was amazed by what Explorium has developed. So I joined the team to take this fantastic product to the market and help grow and scale the company.

The company was recently named a Cool Vendor by Gartner and the Next Billion Dollar Startup by Forbes and we want to keep this growth momentum going. The initial marketing initiatives were building the right team for product marketing, demand generation, digital, content, putting the right processes in place, and building the right tech stack that will help us scale.

How have you seen B2B /tech digital marketing technologies and digital marketing trends evolve during this time in the industry?

Yes, marketing has evolved considerably since I first started in this field. It has become much more data-driven, technology-enabled, and process-oriented. Having the right tools and processes that can help you quickly test your hypothesis and execute your ideas is critical. Speed is essential, and agility is a must. Especially during the last year, marketers had to devise new messaging and find new ways to connect to their customers. Being responsive in the fast-changing market was very important. The shift to digital technologies also became critical as in-person events and meet-ups were not possible. We have learned newer ways to connect with and serve customers in the last year because of access to the right data and digital technologies.

Read more of the interview here

Employee development platform GrowthSpace raises $15 million Series A led by M12

Israeli startup GrowthSpace, which has developed a platform for employee development programs, announced on Wednesday that it has secured a $15 million Series A investment round. The financing was co-led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and Vertex Ventures. This latest round of funding, which also included previous investor M-Fund Club, brings GrowthSpace’s total amount raised to $19 million.

GrowthSpace has developed a technology that provides a personalized development program for employees. The system matches employees and experts after understanding their business goals and professional challenges. The company said it has over 1,000 coaches, mentors, and professionals speaking a variety of languages with expertise in 300 different skills. The company’s business model is based on an annual subscription that includes a certain amount of credits, with each credit being equal to one personalized development program for an employee which includes 5-7 meetings with an expert. The cost per credit drops as the subscription program grows.

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Q&A: Andy Cockburn, CEO and Co-Founder, Mention Me

Andy Cockburn is CEO and Co-Founder of Mention Me, the Referral Engineering™  platform for growth-obsessed ecommerce brands. Since co-founding the business with Tim Boughton in 2013, he’s scaled it to employ more than 90 Referral Experts who have delivered more than 4 million referrals totalling £1bn in revenue for clients.

Prior to Mention Me, Andy was the UK Managing Director of HomeAway, the world’s largest market-place for holiday rentals (that floated on the NASDAQ for $3bn), and formerly the founder and CEO of Wigadoo, a technology start-up in the social payment space.

He has an MBA from INSEAD and MA from Cambridge University.

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