One of the biggest challenges for the $23 trillion retail industry is the exchange of product data required in order for a vendor’s product to list on to a retailer’s site. The simple fact that vendors and retailers use different software means their data often isn’t in the same format so they resort to spreadsheets to share critical product and inventory information which creates a labour intensive process fraught with human error that delays revenue and increases costs. For example, it takes around six minutes to add one new product to Shopify. That must be multiplied for dozens or even hundreds and thousands of products.
Venzee Technologies Inc. (TSXV: VENZ) has developed a solution to this problem which automates the delivery of enriched and error free product information from vendors to retailers. Venzee is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company that launched in 2014 to help vendors and retailers easily share product information in a $23 trillion USD retail industry. Venzee’s technology, leveraging artificial intelligence to do the work of transforming vendor product information into the requirements of their retailers, allows thousands of vendors and retailers to seamlessly share information, avoiding delays and getting products to market faster than ever. They graduated from notable startup accelerator program “500 Startups” and are already powering some of the biggest brands in the world. According to Statista, in 2016 the global e-commerce industry achieved an estimated US $1.8 trillion in sales and is expected to grow to US $4.5 trillion by 2021.
Venzee IPO’d by way of a reverse takeover and began trading on the TSX Venture exchange on January 5th, 2018. The pre-IPO financing was oversubscribed and included institutional partners. While Venzee hasn’t been a public company for very long, since their launch in 2014 they have come a long way. It took them three years of work to perfect the solution they provide and make it scalable and robust.
They went live with their first major retailer in September of 2017. Venzee is being made available to the thousands of companies in this retailer’s supply chain as an alternative to spreadsheets and data entry. The exposure Venzee is getting as a result of one major retailer coming on board is impressive. This household name retailer works with 9,500 vendors who also sell to other retailers. The Venzee team is now working on securing partnerships with other major retailers including Walmart.
Other notable customer announcements:
- January 11th, 2018 – announced that a world leader in artificial turf, whose installations include the Seattle Seahawks’ home field CenturyLink Field, had joined their growing roster of Fortune 500 customers.
- January 18th, 2018 – announced that Trans Globe Lighting, a leading manufacturer of residential lighting to retailers including Walmart, Amazon, and The Home Depot, was expanding its use of Venzee to support its 100+ additional retailers.
- February 1st, 2018 – announced that Littman Bros. Lighting had selected Venzee to automate the process of adding updating products sold on littmanbros.com
- February 14th, 2018 – announced that Amer Rugs, a U.S. based subsidiary or Saraswatii Global Ltd., has selected Venzee to automate the process of adding and updating products to their retailers.
- February 28th, 2018 – announced a leading Canadian textile importer and distributor has chosen Venzee to deliver enriched, error-free product information to retailers.
- March 7th, 2018 – announced home good e-commerce retailer Korbet Bleu has selected Venzee to automate the process of adding and updating products to their website korbetbleu.com
Venzee has also been busy on the product development front with two big announcements in January of this year. On January 16th, they launched an enhancement to their platform called Autopilot. Autopilot is an artificial intelligence product that acts as an inbox for the spreadsheets that retailers receive from vendors. As emails are received, Auto Pilot unpacks the attached spreadsheets and automatically transforms the information contained into content rich, online products on Amazon, Shopify, or WooCommerce. For retailers, it’s as simple as sharing a new email address with their vendors. Kate Hiscox, Founder and President of Venzee, commented, “Autopilot brings the power of artificial intelligence to retailers who wouldn’t normally be able to afford, or build technology as sophisticated as Autopilot. This represents a substantial return on investments for our customers and retail partners who use our product.”
On January 31st, Venzee announced a partnership with BTL Group Ltd. that will bring together Venzee’s blockchain data transformation solution, Mesh, with BTL’s blockchain development platform, Interbit. Using artificial intelligence, Mesh is able to import, merge, and transform data from existing systems before writing to blockchain networks, greatly simplifying the process of integrating blockchain networks with conventional databases. Hiscox commented, “Since announcing Mesh, we have had interest from enterprise customers, including major retail and globally recognized banks who are looking to deploy blockchain as part of their date strategy. BTL offers a world-class permissioned blockchain solution that, combined with Mesh, means we can provide an end-to-end solution that helps companies achieve their blockchain goals more efficiently.”
Venzee seems to have a lot of things going for them at the moment. They have stated that 2018 is all about growth and the four notable customer announcements highlighted above show they are well on their way. With their software solution offering bank grade security and being available in several different languages including Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Mandarin, there are a ton of potential customers out there that Venzee could provide a solution for. Current customer endorsements like the one from Nancy Tyska, Ecommerce Manager for Littman Bros. Lighting, who said, “Venzee’s software allows us to automatically send enriched, error free product information to our website, knowing with confidence that website data will be accurate and the most up to date which helps us focus our efforts on growing our business.” show that the company is doing exactly what they aim to. If they can continue that trend with the 2018 focus on growth and sales, it could be a very good year for Venzee.
*The author was paid a fee to write this article.*
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