As we enter the new year, the Supply Chain Matters blog features our first 2020 edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech, 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.

Included in this edition are highlights related to noteworthy announcements and/or developments related to:Supply Chain Matters This Week in Supply Chain Technology


Vecna Robotics

Iptor and Bregal Unternehmerkapita


EcoVadis Secures $200 Million Investment to Scale Growth

EcoVadis SAS, a provider of business sustainability ratings for global supply chains, has announced that it has agreed to a $200 million investment from private equity firm CVC Growth Partners II. This transaction represents one of the largest investments in the ESG space to date and reflects a shared long-term vision for the importance of the area to business success.

John Clark, Managing Partner of CVC Growth Partners, Aaron Dupuis and Sebastian Kuenne will be joining EcoVadis’ Board of Directors.

According to the announcement, more than 450 enterprises – representing over $2.5 trillion in business spending – rely on this technology provider’s supplier ratings and engagement platform to evaluate and improve environmental and social performance across their global supply chains. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Verizon, L’Oréal, Subway, Nestlé, Salesforce, Michelin and BASF are noted as among the more than 60,000 businesses on the company’s network

EcoVadis’ evidence-based assessment methodology is delivered via a SaaS platform and backed by a dedicated team of CSR analysts. The company’s network of assessed companies tops 60,000 across 155 countries.

The latest investment reportedly be utilized to scale the company globally and ingrain sustainability, fair labor practices and ethics into enterprise supply chains and business commerce.

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020 following regulatory approvals.


Warehouse Robotics Startup Vecna Robotics Announces $50 Million in Funding

Waltham Massachusetts based Vecna Robotics announced this week that the company has secured $50 million in a Series B funding round led by Blackhorn Ventures. Other investors in this round included new investors Highland Capital Partners and Fontinalis Partners, along with existing investors Drive Capital as well as Tectonic Ventures.

The company has reportedly raised $63.5 million in funding since it was spun out from parent company Vecna Technologies in 2018.

The Supply Chain Matters blog initially introduced readers to Vecna Robotics after a 2017 visit to company headquarters, then located in Cambridge Massachusetts. We described the company’s design principle as developing  robots that could work collaboratively with workers to address time-consuming tasks of moving pallets, bins and items to designated pick and pack of shipment areas.

The parent company Vecna Technologies was founded by a group of MIT engineers and initially piloted their robotics in healthcare and military applications, Vecna leveraged this experience and translated their technology for applied use in logistics, material movement and warehousing areas, and following successful pilots with select customers.  Our commentary at that time indicated that it was very likely that readers will be hearing more about the application of technologies such as that developed at Vecna among well-known service providers in logistics, warehousing, and material movement.

In the latest funding announcement, executives indicated that the company’ has deployed its robot and software technology in many of the world’s leading distribution centers to include FedEx Ground, Milton CAT, DHL Supply Chain, GEODIS, Medline, among others.

The latest Vecna Robotics funding round is another example of a slew of investment money being invested in the warehouse, logistics and customer fulfillment technology automation segment.

Funds from this latest investment round are expected to be utilized to expand technology development and support staff and to expand the company’s robotic technology in automating truck loading and unloading and bulk order fulfillment processes.


Iptor Acquired by Bregal Unternehmerkapita

Sona Sweden based Iptor, a provider of ERP, distribution and supply chain management, planning and logistics software and services, announced this week that it has been acquired by Bregal Unternehmerkapital alongside investments from Iptor CEO Jayne Archbold and Chief Marketing and Product Officer Christopher Catterfeld. Bregal is part of COFRA Holding, a family-owned investment business based on long-term commitment and independent of developments in financial markets.

Bregal Unternehmerkapital is a growth-focused investment firm whose principal focus is to invest behind sound business models and strong leadership teams. Bregal currently manages upwards of EUR 2.5 billion in overall assets.

Iptor has been transformed over the past three years under the leadership of Archbold and Catterfeld.  The re-branding and re-positioning of the business from the former IBS to Iptor has reportedly delivered exceptional progress, with the product portfolio having been transformed through the successful launch of the aperīo platform.   Alongside this was a move to micro-services targeted toward opportunities in focused verticals with high volume transactions.  The company indicates serving 1,250 customers with 4000 installations in more than 40 countries. Iptor executives indicate that by the end of FY19, this technology provider will have almost 200 customers on the Power cloud offered through its strategic partnership with IBM.

The Bregal investment reportedly allows the company to embark on a ramped-up strategic expansion program, focusing on building out its position in the Technical Wholesale, Pharma and Publishing sectors as well as increasing its geographical footprint and pursuing acquisitions.


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


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