The Supply Chain Matters blog features our first in the year 2021 consolidated editions of our new column feature: This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.

This series presents a brief synopsis of noteworthy supply chain management focused technology news which we believe would be of specific interest to our global-based blog readership. Our previous posting of this series occurred on December 5, 2020.

Included in this edition are highlights of noteworthy announcements and/or developments from:

Supply Chain Matters This Week in Supply Chain Technology

Slync.io Announces $60 Million Series B Funding

Rivian Automotive Raises Additional $2.6 Billion to Prepare for Product Launch

E2open Completes Business Combination

Former Amazon Executive Working on New Start-Up Pandion

AI Powered Healthcare Procurement Start-Up Vamstar Seed Funded

 

Slync.io Announces $60 Million Series B Funding

This week, logistics process orchestration technology provider Slync.io announced the closing of a $60 million Series B funding round with a lead investment from Goldman Sachs Growth. Other participation was from ACME Ventures, 235 Capital Partners, Correlation Ventures and other existing investors. As part of the deal, Goldman Sachs’ John Giannuzzi will also join Slync’s board of directors.

This provider closed an $11 million Series A funding round in April of 2020, described as the first purpose-built operating system for global logistics. The company’s technology enables intelligent process automation for logistics service providers and global supply chains which aims to increase productivity and reduce operating expenses in some of the most challenging processes in global logistics.

Founded in 2017, early employees are enterprise software and artificial intelligence veterans with many coming from Salesforce.com.

The SaaS platform performs data harmonization by synchronizing both enterprise systems and manual tools within a single system, giving a new level of understanding to Slync’s customers. This unprecedented level of connectivity and understanding empowers logistics teams to focus on value-added activities and supporting their customers instead of tedious back-office processes. Freight forwarders Kuehne + Nagel, DHL and Expeditors are noted as among industry leading global providers currently utilizing this provider’s technology.

As Supply Chain Matters has highlighted both in our 2021 Predictions and other commentary, the need for supply chain end-to-end visibility and continuous risk mitigation becomes essential. A further area of need is fostering connected manufacturing and supply chain operational synchronization, including the area of logistics.

Proceeds from this latest funding round are reportedly being utilized to expand the technology provider’s presence in Europe and Asia, and to expand its team of global-wide talent.

 

Rivian Automotive Raises Additional $2.6 Billion to Prepare for Product Launch

In January, electric vehicle designer and manufacturer Rivian Automotive announced the completion of an additional $2.65 billion funding round led by T. Rowe Price Associates. Other investors included Fidelity Investments, Coatue Management and Amazon.com, all of whom were previous investors. Ford Motor was an early investor in the company as part of a joint technology sharing effort.

The company was valued at $27.6 billion at the time of this latest capitalization. The latest capitalization adds to the over $5 billion previously raised by Rivian since 2009.

Originally founded in 2009 by an MIT engineering alum, this manufacturer’s stated mission is in developing vehicles, products and services related to sustainable transportation. The manufacturer has been designated by some as the new Tesla in the area of electric powered trucks and a business model that challenges traditional industry player’s business models such as selling through independent dealerships.

The company’s vehicle line-up is being targeted to compete was existing fossil fuel or electric powered auto and truck makers, including Tesla. Amazon’s investment was part of an earlier order of vans that included an equity investment in the company.

Proceeds of the latest investment reportedly are to be utilized to support the product launch of three new model vehicles this year, which includes an electric powered pick-up truck to be branded RIT, a full-sized electric powered SUV branded the RIS, and the first of 100,000 electric powered delivery vans contracted to supply Amazon.

 

E2open and CC Neuberger Principal holdings Complete Business Combination

In a special edition of this column published in October 2020, we highlighted the announcement by supply chain B2B Cloud platform technology provider E2open that it had entered into a business combination agreement with CC Neuberger Principal Holdings 1, a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. The purpose of the transaction was to allow the provider to become a public company with the company’s common stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The total equity investment raised was $1.1 billion, and reportedly would be utilized to pay down existing debt, purchase a portion of the equity owned by E2open investors and conservatively capitalize the company’s balance sheet.

An announcement today indicates that this business combination has been completed. The transaction was reportedly unanimously approved by the board of directors of CC Neuberger Principal Holdings I and was approved at a special meeting of CC Neuberger Principal Holdings I shareholders on February 2, 2021. The common stock of the combined company will trade under the symbol “ETWO” on the New York Stock Exchange, beginning February 5, 2021.

Michael Farlekas, who has served as CEO of E2open since 2015, will continue to lead the business. In a release the announced the completion, Farlekas stated:

We are pleased to complete our business combination with CC Neuberger Principal Holdings I and begin our next chapter as a public company. I am incredibly proud of the work our team is doing to help our customers reduce costs and accelerate revenue using our supply chain management software solutions. Leveraging our recapitalized balance sheet and the significant experience of the CC Capital, Neuberger Berman, Insight Partners, and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. (the private equity affiliate of Elliott Investment Management L.P.) teams, we believe E2open is poised to accelerate its growth and capitalize on the significant opportunities to generate substantial value for all stakeholders.”

 

Former Amazon Executive Working on New Start-Up

Scott Ruffin, an executive who spent over five years developing the last-mile delivery capabilities of online retail provider Amazon and is described as the online retailer’s former “delivery guru” is working on a new start-up directed at “Middle Mile” capabilities.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Paid subscription or metered view) that Ruffin’s start-up, Pandion, was introduced in stealth mode with $5 million in seed funding. The start-up’s goals are to assist major online and brick and mortar retailer’s offer more affordable one-and-two-day deliveries to be able to compete with Amazon. Ruffin reportedly does not anticipate that demand for more online retail will subside after COVID, and that new thinking is required in focusing on the “middle mile” of a package journey. Amazon’s approach in this area was the deployment of sortation centers where packages are sorted by zip codes and then passed to last mile deliver carriers such as the U.S. Post Office or amazon’s now operated delivery van fleet. Pandion’s aim is reportedly to target the 60 percent of retail orders that originate with major retailers such as Walmart, Target and others.

Plans call for the opening of a handful of Pandion sorting centers later this year utilizing contracted trucking companies to move packages to last mile delivery carriers.  Reportedly what differentiates this start-up is a mission to focus solely on residential delivery needs, with capabilities that include more real-time routing based on existing logistics and transportation network flows that can avoid or circumvent existing bottlenecks.

As Supply Chain Matters has highlighted in 2021 Predictions, solving the last -mile delivery challenge in a more cost friendly manner remains a big retail industry opportunity.

 

AI Powered Healthcare Procurement Start-Up Vamstar Seed Funded

This week, London based Vamstar, described as an AI powered healthcare marketplace announced a $1.7 million seed funding round with participation from Antler and Begin Capital.

COVID-19 has shaken the notion of supply chain stability in the global economy. In the healthcare industry, this has led to equipment shortages in hospitals, suppliers struggling to find relevant contracts, and medicines held behind during transportation. The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of sourcing and procurement, especially within healthcare.

Vamstar’s platform is used for businesses and organizations connecting suppliers, such as pharmaceutical, medical device, and digital technology companies, with public and private buyers, such as hospitals, health insurances or Group Purchasing Organizations (GPOs). The company was founded in early 2020 by Praful Mehta, Richard Freeman, and Vishesh Duggar with offices in the UK, India, and the United States.

The company reportedly matches $2 trillion of healthcare contracts and tenders for pharmaceutical products, medical devices, healthcare services, and medical technologies across public and private buyers like hospitals, universities and governments in 70 plus countries.

The start-up has reportedly won multiple UK grants with the University of Sheffield and the University of Nottingham, to contribute to post-COVID recovery by ensuring that the supply chain risk and supply-demand matching can be monitored in real-time within our healthcare systems. The company plans to grow globally that includes plans for Germany, India and the United States.

 

This concludes our latest edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech.

An Added Note to ReadersSupply Chain Matters will feature our capsule views of This Week in Supply Chain Tech highlight series periodically as announcements warrant.

 

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