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Crisp, a demand forecasting platform for the food industry, has today announced the close of a $ 12 million Series A funding round led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from Spring Capital and Swell Capital.
Crisp launched out of beta in January of this year with a product that aimed to give food suppliers and distributors a clearer picture of customer demand at retailers. Before Crisp, these organizations usually had several data scientists compiling data from various sources into an unintelligible spreadsheet, making it difficult to see general demand outlooks, and nearly impossible to spot anomalies.
Not only does this lead to losses in revenue, but it also contributes to a terrible amount of food waste.
Crisp looks to solve this by giving these suppliers and distributors a visualization of their data instantly and in real time. The company has built integrations with a large number of ERP software, ingesting historical data from food brands and combining them with a wide range of other signals around demand drivers, such as seasonality, holidays, price sensitivity, past marketing campaigns, changes in the competitive landscape, and weather that might affect the sale or shipment of ingredients or the product itself.
The end goal is to consolidate data across the industry, from brands to distributors to grocery stores, so that each individual link in the food chain can do a better job of matching their supply with their demand on an individual basis.
Since launching out of beta, Crisp has expanded beyond food brands and suppliers into retail and distributor space. The company has also expanded beyond product and dairy into verticals like beverages, bakery, CPG, flowers, meat and poultry. The startup says its seen an 80 percent increase in the number of customers using the platform since January.
Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic brings its own unique challenges and opportunities to Crisp’s business. On the one hand, grocery store shopping is booming and the supply chain behind it is certainly in need of better data science and demand forecasting as user behavior shifts rapidly. On the other hand, user behavior is shifting rapidly.
With state by state, and sometimes county by county lockdowns and shifts in the restrictions imposed on small businesses, Crisp has had to manually track what’s going on around the country in order to provide clear insights to its customers.
“This period we’re in has increased that willingness to share data and increased collaboration between everybody in the supply chain,” said founder and CEO Are Traasdahl. “We’ve seen a big shift there. Earlier, everyone assumed that everyone else was able to deliver, but now this ability to have a full, top-down visibility across a whole depth of companies, not just the companies next to you in your trading relationships, but being able to unify data and have more insights from multiple steps away from yourself, and get that data in real time been accelerated.”
Crisp currently has 33 employees (with plans to hire on the back of the funding), which is 33 percent women and 15 percent people of color. Half of Crisp’s management team are women.
Ponicode, a French startup specialising in Artificial Intelligence and data sciences founded in June 2019, today announced a €3 million fundraising led by Breega alongside Kima and Plug & Play Ventures, one of the most active investment funds in Silicon Valley, together with around twenty Business Angels. This fundraising comes in addition to Ponicode’s €1 million loan from Bpifrance.
Ponicode has developed a platform based on AI and machine learning that tests the various functions of computer programmes, thus relieving developers of tedious, time-consuming tasks. The platform has learned from millions of lines of code, allowing it to generate unit tests and suggest improvements so that developers can deliver error-free code. Ponicode therefore improves product quality, speeds up time-to-market and helps drive company innovation.
In the year since its inception, Ponicode has already achieved several major milestones, such as the June 2020 launch of the public beta version of its solution and, in May 2020, its inclusion in Microsoft’s AI Factory programme, based at Station F, one of the aims of which is to train European AI champions.
Ponicode’s team currently counts 11 multi-cultural and passionate members, all set to pave the way to a new era in coding. Meanwhile, its community early adopters has already tested the private beta version and is quite enthusiastic and looking forward to working with the final product.
This seed funding will enable Ponicode to beef up its R&D team and continue developing its product to ensure it is tailored as finely as possible to company needs. The aim is to double its team size in the space of a year, begin marketing the solution to companies and launch an international roll-out, notably targeting the US.
Ponicode is the third company set up by AI expert Patrick Joubert. In 2011, he founded the consulting company Beamap, which specialised in Cloud technology and was subsequently bought out by Sopra Steria in 2014. He went on to create Recast.AI in 2015, a collaborative conversational AI platform open to developers creating chatbots, acquired by SAP in 2018.
Ponicode’s co-founder and CEO, Patrick Joubert stated: “Code quality has become a key issue for companies in a world where digital has transformed every aspect of society. At the heart of the digital universe stands software developed from millions of lines of code. For instance, smartphones contain just as many software programmes as a car, i.e. around 100 million lines of code. And yet, far too often, such programmes still contain bugs, sometimes with disastrous consequences. This is unacceptable and code needs to make the transition to impeccable quality. We want to raise standards and play a major role in changing development practices.”