Hivery receives new money for automatically optimizing the placement of goods on store shelves

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hiverithe startup, which bills itself as an “optimization platform” for retailers, announced today that it has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Tiger Global. armed private equity firm with Blackbird Ventures, AS1 Growth Partners and OneVentures. CEO Jason Hosking told TechCrunch via email that the proceeds will drive the growth of products designed to help brick-and-mortar businesses make decisions about physical space and product display.

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The pandemic and its impact on retail, including congested supply chains and product shortages, has drawn attention to the challenges facing the industry. For example, according to a recent interview According to Retail Insights, seven in 10 consumers believe stockouts — events that lead to stock-outs — are worse today than they were during the pandemic’s peak panic buying.

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Hivery has its roots in the pre-pandemic era — the Australian-based company was founded in 2015 — but Hosking says many of its technologies have become more relevant over the past few years. “Today, if you go to one of the big retail chains in the US, chances are you are picking items off the shelves that landed there using the core Hivery product,” he told TechCrunch. “It sits in the middle between big brands and retailers, allowing them to customize the store’s assortment to suit the needs of the local consumer. We call this “hyperlocal retail”.

Overstock, out of stock and returns are costing retailers $1.75 trillion in lost inventory worldwide. according to 2020 study by IHL Group.

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Hosking and Frankie Chamaki, Hivery’s second co-founder, were among the first members of Coca-Cola’s now-closed Founders Residential Entrepreneur Program, where they were tasked with building new business models using Coke’s distribution network and brands. After partnering with the Australian CSIRO Data61 research organization, which has been applying artificial intelligence techniques to vending machine sales data, Hosking, Chamaki and two collaborators they met at Data61 — Matthew Robards and Menkes van den Briel — were inspired to launch Hivery. (Data61 is the data and digital division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia’s national science agency.)

As Hosking explained, the retail industry currently focuses on three areas of developing and implementing in-store assortment plans: product category strategy (i.e. finding the right products for the store), category planning and optimization, and planogram design and creation. These steps are collectively referred to as “category reset” or “merchandising reset”. Resets typically take about 6 months to complete and involve large groups of people with feedback from both retailers and suppliers.

“The retail environment is getting more and more complex,” Hosking said. “With an ever-increasing number of SKUs, limited shelf space, varying store characteristics, and the current challenges and complexity of the supply chain, it is becoming extremely difficult to get the right assortment right.”

Hivery sells two software-as-a-service products aimed at speeding up the reboot cycle by optimizing inventory for space. In retail, “range optimization” refers to the process of choosing the right combination of products to place on store shelves. The first, Hivery Curate, takes into account factors such as capacity, vendor-defined policies, and visibility to recommend where products should be placed on display in each store. As for the second, Hivery Enhance, he recommends locations and assortments for vending machines in the US and Japan.

Hivery’s newest product, Hivery Promote, which is currently in beta, creates promotion calendars by learning sales data while taking into account factors such as vendor restrictions, price tiers, and promotion types.

“With Hivery, vendor-side sales teams can model and discover win-win category strategies with their retail customers; marketing teams can simulate the success of a new product before launching it; and retailers can localize inventory and reduce product spoilage by, say, optimizing expiration dates,” Hosking said. “Senior executives care about Hivery as he helps them forge a much more strategic relationship between them and their key retail partners.”

Hivery competes with a range of vendors solving a variety of delivery problems for brick-and-mortar stores. Last September fliber has raised $12 million for its inventory optimization technology, which uses analytics and machine learning to estimate ideal inventory levels across sales channels and locations. Just a month later Tulio received $8 million for its cloud-based merchandising and inventory planning software. Meanwhile, in the food industry, there are startups such as fresh flowwhich develops artificial intelligence-based forecasting algorithms to help retailers optimize the replenishment of fresh and perishable goods.

But Heavery says that in the past 2 years, 20 of the top 25 consumer goods manufacturers have become customers, and that by 2023 the customer base will more than double. Hiveri’s US and Australian team is expected to grow to over 150 over the next 12 months.

“Hivery has been able to help our customers weather headwinds solely by providing quick and efficient assortment and area solutions. We help our customers respond quickly, be more data-driven, and effectively deliver what consumers want,” Hosking said. “As a result of the pandemic, there has been increased demand in the industry for automation and optimization solutions that we have been able to provide.”

The challenge for Hivery will be to overcome the economic hurdle that will last into the next year. Global investment in retail technology fell 11% to $23.8 billion in the first quarter of 2022 from $26.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. according to CB Insights. While store management technology funding increased 10% to $2.3 billion qoq, it remains to be seen if this trend will continue.

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