The Supply Chain Matters blog features our April 14, 2023 edition of This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech, a synopsis capsule of noteworthy supply chain management focused technology news.

After our most recent published edition on March 27, an accelerated tech news cycle related to supply chain business processes and decision-making continues in earnest despite the challenges of investment markets.

Specific updates for this edition include:

Everstream Analytics Raises $50 Million in Series B Round

Venti Raises $29 Million in Series A Round

Trimble Completes Transporean Acquisition

Global Venture Capital Funding Falls Dramatically in Q1

Arrival SA Executes Another SPAC Funding Deal

Apparel Retailers Leverage RFID to Track Item Level Merchandise in Stores

SAP SE Announces New Midsized Company Cloud ERP Offering


Everstream Analytics Raises $50 Million in Series B Round

Supply chain risk mitigation and analytics tech provider Everstream Analytics concluded a $50 million Series B investment round. Leading this round was Morgan Stanley Investment Management with added participation from StepStone Group and Columbia Capital.

This tech provider was more recently named as the Fast Company World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023. Everstream ranked number three in the data science category for its application of AI and predictive analytics to global supply chain risk. This tech provider cites leading brands including Google, Schneider Electric, Unilever and Campbell’s as customers, among 200 others.

Reportedly, capital raised in this latest round to accelerate product innovation, including insights and tracking related to ESG and sustainability risks across a company’s extended supply chain. The tech provider has added a deeper set oof meteorology and climate science data to provide customers with weather and climate focused risk factors.


Venti Raises $29 Million in Series A Round

Autonomous logistics technology and industrial hubs provider Venti Technologies announced that it has secured $28.8 million in Series A financing.

This financing round was led by LG Technology Ventures, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital arm of the LG Group, with participation from Safar Partners, UOB Venture Management, and existing investors Alpha JWC and LDV Partners.

Venti was founded in 2018 by a team with strong MIT roots, including Chief Executive Officer Dr. Heidi Wyle, Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Xinxin Du, and MIT electrical engineering and computer science professors Daniela Rus, Director, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and MacArthur Fellow, and Saman Amarasinghe.

With this new round of funding, we are well-positioned to broadly deploy our autonomous logistics solutions to power safer and more efficient global supply chains and industrial yards,” said Heidi Wyle, Founder and CEO. “Our autonomous vehicles have industrial grade precision in everyday operating environments and are already successfully in use. We have the potential to revolutionize goods transportation and are excited to be working with partners around the world to make this vision a reality.


Trimble Completes Transporean Acquisition

This column highlighted in a mid-December 2022 update that Trimble, who’s stated goal is to connect the physical and digital aspects of the transportation and logistics industry, announced that it has agreed to acquire Cloud based transportation management provider Transporeon in an all cash transaction valued at €1.88 billion. The company would acquire Transporeon from Hg, a software and services investor and majority shareholder.

Earlier this month, Trimble announced that this acquisition was completed. The transaction was funded by senior notes, a term loan, and cash on-hand.

Founded in 2000, German based Transporeon provides a digital freight platform the supports more than 1,200 shippers, 100 large retailers, and over 120,000 logistics services providers and carriers. The company manages operations from eight different global office locations and can converse business in twenty-five different languages. The company’s technology aims to provide a holistic approach to transport management. It includes Transporeon Execution Solutions, procurement, and market intelligence offerings along with Sixfold, a real-time visibility capability aggregating live data from supply chains across Europe leveraging AI based technology. Reportedly, the tech provider has generated profitable growth over the prior 15 years.


Global Venture Capital Funding Falls Dramatically in Q1

Crunchbase recently reported that venture and growth investors continued to scale back their investment pace in Q1-2023.

Global funding in Q1 reportedly reached $76 billion, a marked 53 percent decline from the year earlier quarterly period. The number included two rather significant funding events- Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in OpenAI, and a $6,5 billion investment for online payments provider Stripe. Minus these two events, the funding activity would have been upwards of $60 billion.

The collapse and takeover of Silicon Valley Bank in March reportedly “added shock to a weakened funding environment.” The bank reportedly had more than 20,000 start-up firms with $5 million or less in total revenues.

Further noted is that in the current investment environment, artificial intelligence ventures continue to garner investor attention.

Judging from this column’s updates since the start of this year, supply chain management technology is still garnering investment interest in Series A and Series B levels but our sources indicate that investment cycles are far more lengthy and rigorous, with an added focus toward time to profitability.


Arrival Executes Another SPAC Funding Deal

Commercial electric vehicle designer and producer Arrival SA has struck a second blank check SPAC deal after upwards of two years as a public company.

In a February 2020 Supply Chain Matters update, we indicated that both global parcel carrier UPS and Luxembourg based Arrival collaborated together in developing concepts for different sized EV parcel delivery vans. Both previously jointly announced the development of a pilot fleet of 35 vans that were tested in London and Paris. UPS subsequently ordered 10,000 purpose-built electric delivery vans in a move to accelerate overall fleet electrification in Europe and other regions. The EV parcel truck maker subsequently went public in March 2021, combining with CIIG Merger Corp. while securing a $5.4 billion market valuation based on 2024 revenue expectations in 2024. The company’s stock has reportedly spiraled from an initial $10 price at IPO to 19 cents in early April.

Now, according to reporting from Bloomberg Hyperdrive,  the tech provider plans to merge with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. V in an effort to secure upwards of $283 million in cash to stave off bankruptcy.

Arrival represents a complement to EV start-ups such as Rivian Automotive and Lucid Motors that continue to struggle financially to reach production output levels that yield sufficient revenues to ward off cash burn.


Apparel Retailers Leverage RFID to Track Item Level Merchandise in Stores

The Wall Street Journal recently reported (Paid subscription or metered view) that branded apparel retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Victoria Secret and Nordstrom are expanding their use of a new generation of radio frequency identification (RFID) chips to track item level apparel both in physical stores and online.

The retailer’s indicate that chip costs have reduced to a point where RFID enabled item level tracking can garner positive returns into tracking customer shopping patterns, filling online orders from physical stores and in search for specific merchandise. It further helps in the ability to foster singular inventory management to support customer demand from both online and in-store buying channels.

The report indicates that Inditex, which is the parent of the branded Zara retail chain began leveraging RFID tracking in 2014, and now tracks every garment sold from the retailer’s logistics outlets to final sale in stores or online. The reported benefit has been avoidance of merchandise markdowns by positioning apparel to the right location and channel at the right time. This year, this retailer is reportedly beginning an effort to physically sew-in RFID chips into garments both as an antitheft measure and support for total digitalization of stores.


SAP Announces New Midsized Company Cloud ERP Offering

Enterprise software and database provider SAP SE recently announced the GROW with SAP offering, designed to help midsized companies adopt Cloud ERP in a more time-to-value manner.

This offering brings together SAP S/4 HANA Cloud public edition, with accelerated adoption services, a global wide implementation partner community, free learning resources with a go-live objective noted as between four and six weeks. It is based on the RISE with SAP offering provided to large businesses.

The objective of the program is to allow SMB businesses the ability to scale their business growth needs with an ERP backbone and with use of the SAP Business Technology Platform. GROW with SAP is noted as being a more simple, predictable, and fixed-price implementation approach that has well-structured activities and best practices to onboard customers.

SAP has previously introduced a number of different technology implementation programs tailored for SMB and mid-market businesses which have since faded away. It is unclear, as yet, as to what specific changes incorporated into GROW with SAP will differentiate this effort, particularly in the current uncertain economic and business climate.


This concludes our April 14, 2023 edition of Supply Chain Matters This Week in Supply Chain Management Tech. This column publishes when tech news cycles warrant.


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