6 Tech Firms Which Are Solving Supply Chain Challenges
In recent years there’s been an unprecedented focus on global supply chains. There are several reasons for this – not least the serious logistical disruptions brought about by the Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine, labour shortages, soaring energy costs, and severe inflation. This has opened up equally unprecedented opportunities for startups which have developed tech tools that can optimise their clients’ supply chains.
As Oliver Rupps, our new Sector Principal for digital logistics solutions, put it in a recent interview: “The ever-increasing need for companies to improve the planning, forecasting and visibility of their supply chains has led to a global demand for tracking technologies which are sophisticated enough to handle the challenges of our age… Transparency, communication and collaboration are new key success factors which are being enabled by intelligent software, integrated cloud-based networks and AI-solutions being developed by these tech firms.”
A recent commentary on the industry by asset management firm TrueBridge Capital Partners has underscored how venture capital is being increasingly directed towards such firms, with the firm stating that “persistent industry pain points within logistics, transportation, and supply chain management that have created a fertile foundation for innovative startups in the space.”
With this in mind, we thought we’d take a quick look at some of these innovative startups, and the kinds of solutions they’re bringing.
UK-based MediShout is billed as a “one-stop” app for the resolution of operational issues in healthcare environments. The silo-busting solution aggregates hospital teams, facilities management companies and equipment manufacturers on one platform, providing a convenient alternative to the cumbersome reporting pathways that exacerbate the already extreme pressures being felt by organisations like the NHS.
So, instead of having to deal with endless emails, phone calls and help desks when reporting equipment that needs replacing or stock that needs replenishment, staff can simply use the app, which also provides status updates on new orders. Impressively, MediShout started out as a mere side hustle for its founder, a full-time orthopaedic surgeon, but has since racked up $5.4 million in seed funding.
Energy procurement is a crucial component of supply chains, especially for companies in energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing. Startups have emerged to help such companies keep costs as low as possible in the face of sky-rocketing prices, and a prime example is Germany-based trawa.
A full-stack solution for the procurement of renewable, cost-effective electricity, trawa raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding earlier this year. This interest reflects trawa’s ability to save energy-intensive companies up to 20% on their electricity costs per year, which it does by leveraging AI to analyse energy consumption before coming up with the ideal purchasing strategy and implementing delivery plans in collaboration with renewable energy providers.
Another German startup blazing a trail in the supple chain sphere is Root Global, which is attempting to “build the carbon OS of the food industry”. In other words, the startup aims to help food manufacture and retail companies meet their emission reduction targets – a vital consideration given the ever more stringent ESG expectations of stakeholders, investors and regulators.
The Root Global platform allow companies to calculate their corporate and product carbon footprints more easily, model emission reduction scenarios and implement changes throughout their supply chains accordingly. Developed with input from farmers, food manufacturers and retailers across Europe, Root Global has raised just over $2.6 million in funding so far.
UK startup Kavida.ai is a digital platform that tackles a number of logistical challenges, from collaborating with suppliers and detecting risks to delivery dates, to real-time tracking of shipments. The centralised platform also allows companies to manage their purchase order documents and automatically track production milestones such as the placing of orders and quality assurance checks.
The company, which recently racked up $1.1 million in funding, also plans to roll out an AI co-pilot which can oversee supply chain operations in an autonomous fashion, making life even easier for company line managers.
Cargo Stream is a UK-based logistics management platform, providing an all-in-one digital hub which can speed up order placement and management processes. One of its key applications is the automation of tendering, allowing companies to more efficiently request and assess bids from logistics firms.
The platform, which recently secured $1 million in funding, also allows companies to track warehouse occupancies and delivery timeslots, so queues, bottlenecks and downtimes can be minimised. ESG considerations are also baked in, with Cargo Stream allowing companies to track fuel usage and carbon emissions, and create vital sustainability reports in a fast, accurate fashion.
US startup CADDi has enjoyed multiple lucrative fundraises, with a $89 million Series C concluded earlier this year. The company has two main wings. One, CADDi Manufacturing, is a procurement platform which aggregates manufacturers of industrial equipment and materials from across the globe. The platform is a one-stop shop for purchasing sheet metal, resin, wire harnesses and other products, leveraging inhouse supply chain optimisation software to ensure the orders are completed smoothly.
The other wing is known as CADDi Drawer, and is a cloud-based solution for managing equipment drawing data. Its AI-powered algorithm streamlines the process of digitising, analysing, organising and locating drawings, which makes it easier to reference this crucial data, keep track of costs and locate relevant purchase orders. This can optimise the whole creation process, from product design right through to procurement of raw materials. The company aims to post $10 billion in revenue from CADDi Manufacturing and $1 billion in revenue from CADDi Drawer by 2030.
In sum, the importance of robust and resilient supply chains has become a fundamental success factor for increasing numbers of companies in almost all sectors. Smart, technology-based digital solutions are therefore creating real value for all participants along the supply chain. If you’re a founder or senior decision maker seeking expert guidance on transactions within this space, contact our Sector Principal Oliver Rupps.