[Consumer Physics in Hoards Dairyman] New partnerships aim to improve animal feed processes and reduce costs across the US

Ag-tech company Consumer Physics is teaming up with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), Vita Plus and Feed Supervisor to market its SCiO Cup – an instant, portable, lab-grade forage dry matter analyzer. The partnerships with three of the leading dairy industry players in the U.S. are expected to enable the company to reach the 75,000 American farmers with approximately 9 million milk producing cows.

Read more here.

The post [Consumer Physics in Hoards Dairyman] New partnerships aim to improve animal feed processes and reduce costs across the US appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Nivelo nabs $2.5M seed to reduce risk in digital ACH payments

As we plunge deeper into the pandemic, online transactions have become increasingly important, and ACH transactions, the ones that help us get direct deposit of our paychecks or pay our bills are growing ever more essential. Nivelo, an early stage startup from a former JP Morgan executive wants to take the risk out of ACH transactions and today the company announced a $ 2.5 million seed investment, which closed in mid-August.

FirstMark, Barclays and Anthemis led the round with help from Dash Fund and several individual investors. While the company was announcing its first funding, it also launched a private beta of a Risk Scoring API for payments.

Company co-founder Eli Polanco says that ACH payments are a huge business, but mostly haven’t been updated for quick and safe digital transactions “We protect digital payments in real time, but taking a step back our focus is ACH payments, which are the most ubiquitous payment channel in the U.S.,” Polanco told TechCrunch.

To give you a sense of how big this business is, more than $ 55 trillion worth of transactions moves through the ACH channel annually, yet Polanco says for the most part, it remains mired in legacy technology. Her company wants to update the risk component by building a set of APIs that companies can tap into and understand the risk associated with a particular transaction.

“We’re unbundling this risk assessment service and packaging it in the easiest way possible in the form of APIs and embedding it into the most critical payment use cases in the U.S.,” she said.

Polanco, who is a Black woman who grew up in the Dominican Republic, started the company in January and went to raise money. She had a lot going for her including a strong background in payments products, a working product and paying customers. While she faced a lot of due diligence, she expected that, especially as a newly minted founder at a time when she couldn’t meet with investors in person.

Still, she knows the odds for Black founders are abysmal, but she says she could only come armed with data and tell her story. “I know that discrimination and racism exist in the world, but I can just live and play offense as much as possible and come prepared,” she said. Ultimately she prevailed and got her funding.

She said that the pandemic has reinforced how important having a safe digital payment system is. “COVID really shone a light into how unprepared we are for where the world is moving to. When COVID happened and a lot of folks were no longer able to rely on checks and cash […] it elevated the prominent rise of moving to digital payments,” she said. And investors saw this too.

Polanco says that she is also building her financial services tooling with the idea of leveling the playing field for everyone. “My hyper focus on risk infrastructure is directly tied to my outsider experience as an immigrant. When you’re trying to get access to any financial service, you’re always the edge case in the risk models that they have, and you’re always going to have additional friction. So when you grow up as a product manager who has always experienced this, you always have a keen sight on building accurate, but accessible FinTech tools,” she said.

Nivelo is taking its first steps as a company with this funding, but it’s on its way with an alpha product and a future road map of products and services. The company is live with a couple of thousand customers today.

Startups – TechCrunch

Privacy data management innovations reduce risk, create new revenue channels

Privacy data mismanagement is a lurking liability within every commercial enterprise. The very definition of privacy data is evolving over time and has been broadened to include information concerning an individual’s health, wealth, college grades, geolocation and web surfing behaviors. Regulations are proliferating at state, national and international levels that seek to define privacy data and establish controls governing its maintenance and use.

Existing regulations are relatively new and are being translated into operational business practices through a series of judicial challenges that are currently in progress, adding to the confusion regarding proper data handling procedures. In this confusing and sometimes chaotic environment, the privacy risks faced by almost every corporation are frequently ambiguous, constantly changing and continually expanding.

Conventional information security (infosec) tools are designed to prevent the inadvertent loss or intentional theft of sensitive information. They are not sufficient to prevent the mismanagement of privacy data. Privacy safeguards not only need to prevent loss or theft but they must also prevent the inappropriate exposure or unauthorized usage of such data, even when no loss or breach has occurred. A new generation of infosec tools is needed to address the unique risks associated with the management of privacy data.

The first wave of innovation

A variety of privacy-focused security tools emerged over the past few years, triggered in part by the introduction of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) within the European Union in 2018. New capabilities introduced by this first wave of innovation were focused in the following three areas:

Data discovery, classification and cataloging. Modern enterprises collect a wide variety of personal information from customers, business partners and employees at different times for different purposes with different IT systems. This data is frequently disseminated throughout a company’s application portfolio via APIs, collaboration tools, automation bots and wholesale replication. Maintaining an accurate catalog of the location of such data is a major challenge and a perpetual activity. BigID, DataGuise and Integris Software have gained prominence as popular solutions for data discovery. Collibra and Alation are leaders in providing complementary capabilities for data cataloging.

Consent management. Individuals are commonly presented with privacy statements describing the intended use and safeguards that will be employed in handling the personal data they supply to corporations. They consent to these statements — either explicitly or implicitly — at the time such data is initially collected. Osano, Transcend.io and DataGrail.io specialize in the management of consent agreements and the enforcement of their terms. These tools enable individuals to exercise their consensual data rights, such as the right to view, edit or delete personal information they’ve provided in the past.

Startups – TechCrunch

Pandemic Has Spurred Need for Digital ID Systems to Reduce Physical Contact – Investors King Ltd

Pandemic Has Spurred Need for Digital ID Systems to Reduce Physical Contact  Investors King Ltd
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

This Startup Promises to Reduce Stress and Provide Better Sleep

Sponsored content

There is a new product taking nap time to a new level, and it’s the weighted blanket. Available in a range of colors, the heavy-duty blanket is fast becoming the must-have household accessory for bedtime and downtime, and is part of the U.S.’s new wave of sleep startups.

Calming Blankets

While still a somewhat of a new consumer product, one startup taking the industry by storm is Calming Blankets. The Australian-based startup tested the appetite for the market in its country, generating interest through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. After securing 50,000 sales over the course of a year, the company has expanded to Europe and is currently contemplating a move to the U.S.

Calming Blankets are available from $ 195 in different weights, ranging from 10 to 20 pounds, recommended at 10 percent to 15 percent of your body weight. Children’s weighted blankets are also available for those over the age of 4 years old. With products weighing between 10 to 20 pounds, weighted blankets have a pouch filled with small weighted pellets; the heavier you want the blanket, the more pellets you’ll need. The blanket is machine washable and breathable to account for both summer and winter use.

The science behind the weighted blanket is simple: the brain is always sending signals to the body, and when there is insufficient feedback from these signals, it gets confused and causes restlessness and stress. The weighted blanket provides a safe feeling through a hug-like sensation: the weighted blanket offers comfort and a calming effect. Today, many consumers are using weighted blankets to cure anxiety or insomnia or just to relax and de-stress, and Calming Blankets is providing a solution.

Sponsored content

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StartupNation

Rocket launch in November will test Purdue-developed drag sail that aims to reduce orbital debris

When space launch startup Firefly’s first planned orbital flight takes off in November, it’ll carry an experimental payload developed by engineers from Purdue University: A drag sail that’s designed to haul a rocket back to Earth once it’s fulfilled its mission and deployed its cargo. Safely deorbiting a spent launch vehicle would mean one less large piece of flotsam circling the globe in an increasingly high-traffic orbital area.

Most launch vehicles do safely de-orbit on their own – eventually. But that can take up to a hundred years for rocket stages. Increasingly, spacecraft like satellites are also building in propulsion systems to actively de-orbit at end-of-life, but any time you put an active propellant system on a craft designed to operate in space, that means you need to make space for both the propulsion system and propellant, both of which take up space which means added cost for launch, and less room on the satellite for instrumentation and other mission-critical payloads.

As Purdue points out, propellant-based active propulsion systems also require that a spacecraft is operational in order for them to work. A drag parachute, conversely, is effectively a passive measure that can be triggered via fail-safe to de-orbit even a disabled spacecraft.

A drag sail works by creating drag, reducing the orbital velocity of a launch vehicle or spacecraft much more quickly than would occur without any assistance. Objects orbiting Earth in space are only able to maintain those orbits because they’re moving at very high speeds, which in turn means they can counter the effect of Earth’s gravity, which is continually pulling them back down towards the surface, even beyond Earth’s atmosphere.

The experimental drag sail, called Spinnaker3, spans 194 square feet when unfurled, and is a prototype that is designed to eventually form the basis of a while line of drag sail products to be commercialized by Vestigo Airspace, a startup company founded by Purdue adjust associate professor David Spencer. Eventually, small sats and launch craft equipped with drag sails like these could help ensure that despite increased launch activity in Earth’s orbit, the existing traffic problem isn’t exacerbated anywhere near as much as it would otherwise.

Startups – TechCrunch

Fighting the good fight: How Orange Belgium aims to reduce 2 tons of plastic consumption every year

With fossil fuels being our primary fuel source for years, It’s not surprising that our environment has come under tremendous pressure. However, the amount of plastic we are pumping out is also worrying. Multiple companies are taking concrete steps to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic production. One such company is the Belgian telecom provider Orange Belgium, who has now introduced Half ID SIM cards.

Half ID SIM cards will reduce tons of plastic consumption

Orange Belgium is taking another step towards reducing the amount of plastic it consumes. The company has introduced new Half ID SIM cards and as the name suggests, these new SIMS are half the size of regular SIM cards. They are estimated to reduce Orange Belgium’s plastic consumption by more than 2 tons a year. The company will completely switch over to Half ID SIMs by early 2021, which are now available in Orange Belgium’s Smart and Concept stores. 

Michaël Trabbia, CEO of Orange Belgium, says, “As a responsible telecom operator, we adopt a 360 degree approach to reduce our impact on the environment, looking at our network, our data centers, our shops, our customers’ devices, and our employees’ mobility. Reducing our plastic consumption is part of our commitment for the planet, as with these new Half ID SIM cards.”

Small cog in a big plan

Introducing Half ID SIM cards was just one part of the plan for Orange Belgium. The company is vying to further reduce its impact on the environment with the aim of remaining CO2 neutral for its operations. It is also aiming to reduce the remaining CO2 emissions related to its employees’ mobility by 30 percent, by 2023. As per the company, this will be achieved via 5G and RAN sharing implementation, increased emphasis on refurbishing and recycling of technical hardware, employees’ mobility plans, increased deployment of teleworking, efforts on paper consumption and more. 

Tech giants pledge to reduce their environmental impact

Orange Belgium’s move to reduce plastic consumption is commendable. Alongside the telecom operator, there are many other companies that have similar pledges to reduce their environmental impact. Apple, for example, has largely held its pledge to power its data centers with 100% renewable energy and says all of its final assembly sites for its devices such as iPhones, Apple Watches, AirPods, iPads, Macs, and HomePods, are now certified Zero Waste to Landfill, which the company says conserves billions of gallons of water and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Similarly, Google ranked first in As You Sow’s 2019 Q1 Carbon Clean 200 list. “From a carbon emissions perspective, Google’s decision to go 100 percent renewable as compared to a business-as-usual scenario, removes five million tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere every year,” Google wrote in their ranking.

The post Fighting the good fight: How Orange Belgium aims to reduce 2 tons of plastic consumption every year appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

5 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment (and How to Reduce it)

Online shopping has been a convenient commerce alternative for a little over the past two decades, and as many retailers in the past months have had to temporarily close their stores due to COVID-19, the investment retailers have put into their e-commerce operations stands to pay off. For those startup retailers hoping to boost their online shopping offerings, the current economic necessity for web-based alternatives may be your silver bullet.

A reported 30 percent of consumers say they prefer to buy from a website they have already purchased from, so getting that first sale is key. An initial transaction leads to future sales opportunities, such as capturing an email address. This helps build a list for email campaigns that encourage repeat business. But sealing that deal hinges on an order submission button. For a variety of reasons, customers don’t transition through the whole checkout process or sometimes hesitate to make that final click.

The abandonment rate over the past seven years is, on average, nearly 70 percent.

Why is this the case? Tackling the checkout abandonment problem starts with exploring customer behavior. Many reasons are rooted in a competitive marketplace where customers are aware that they have options. Cart abandonment is also due to friction stemming from issues such as consumer confidence and user experience issues.

By examining the following reasons for why customers decide to abandon their online purchases, we can work to reduce online shopping cart abandonment.


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No express shipping and unexpected high shipping costs

One of the advantages of brick-and-mortar stores is that consumers can expect to take the products home the same day and pay only what’s listed on the price tag.

With an online order, high shipping costs applied at checkout induce sticker shock. A recent Baymard Institute study reported that 50 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed pointed to added costs as the reason for not following through with a purchase.

Slow shipping speed is also a deterrent to online shopping. Reasonable arrival time is a consolation for not being able to get the product on-demand in store, especially with immediate need items. The same study reported that 18 percent of U.S. shoppers surveyed said slow delivery speed was the reason for not completing their order.

The Solution: Economize

Economize shipping costs so you can offer an economical rate. Avoid an unpleasant surprise by being upfront about your rates with customers early in the transaction.

Justify higher shipping costs by attaching the value of faster shipping. When you call it expedited shipping, it’s presented in a way that lets the consumer know they are getting an added benefit for the cost.

However, with so many retailers offering free shipping, consumers may perceive this as a baseline. According to a National Federation Research study, 47 percent of shoppers said they didn’t move forward with ordering because of a free shipping issue.

Does this mean you should offer free shipping to everyone? Not necessarily. You can leverage free shipping appeal by setting a threshold order amount. In that same study, 51 percent of those surveyed stated they would add more items to the order if that meant the shipping is free.

Offering shipping rates that meet consumer expectations and reasonable arrival time reduces friction that sends customers in the direction of your competitors.


Related: Why Your Startup Should Make Transparency a Priority

Your return policy isn’t clear

Another brick-and-mortar store advantage is customer awareness of return policies and procedures. Customers have come to expect an instant refund with in-person returns. However, with online sellers, returns can be a wild card.

The Solution: Be transparent

A simple and clear-cut return policy that’s out in the open informs customers of recourse if the purchase doesn’t work out. If you happen to offer a generous return policy like free returns, flaunt this on your website so that customers have one more reason to complete the order.

Customers want to order from sellers they can trust, so transparency about your return policy reduces purchase completion resistance by letting consumers know that you aren’t about the fine print.

Requiring a new user account

Adding products to a cart is a cinch but filling in lines of data and matching passwords is a drag, especially when it’s done on a mobile device.

Encountering a checkout page with a multi-step registration process has some customers throwing up their hands in frustration. The aforementioned Baymard study found that of those polled, 21 percent of U.S. consumers stated that a tedious checkout process is why they bailed on a purchase.

The hassle of creating a new account can lead to procrastination or shopping elsewhere. As more websites present a user-focused design, consumers come to expect ease of use. You reduce abandonment with a truly user-friendly checkout process.

The Solution: Don’t make customers work so hard

By making checkout design improvements, your e-commerce site stands to see a 35 percent boost in conversion rate.

Optimize your customer’s web experience by making the process as user-friendly and as simple as possible. Offer an “express lane” with a “guest checkout” option. By reducing the work, you propel the customer to wrap up the process. Auto-fill functionality is also a big help. Device software remembers previously entered information like the full name, phone number, address, email address, credit card info, etc. Auto-fill actions populate all the associated fields with user data. Enable auto-fill to create an easy form completion journey.

Shoppers conducting research

Customer hesitation with completing an order may also have to do with doubts that they are making the best choice. When seeking affirmation, they typically jump to another resource.

Customers may search for:

  • Best price: High-cost items may make some consumers uneasy and gives them doubts that cause them to look for a cheaper deal.
  • Consumer confidence: Either they are unsure about the product or the seller. They may look to other websites for reviews about the product or reviews about your store.
  • Coupon codes: Seeing an option to apply a promo code at checkout may prompt them to go search for borrowed codes.

The Solution: Deliver more

Providing customers with the best price and consumer confidence mitigates the temptation to leave your page.

One-stop-shop options:

  • Offer a price match guarantee: Not all e-commerce sites will be able to afford many discounts, but if a boost in sales would level things out, it may be worth it to offer this.
  • Offer a bundle: Is there an inexpensive accessory you could throw in to boost the value of their purchase?
  • Offer payment plans: For big-ticket purchases, consider offering finance options. Some retailers partner with credit card companies to extend flexible payment plans.
  • Curate and display consumer reviews: Seeing endorsements from other users about your products and service boosts consumer confidence.
  • Have accreditation badges prominently displayed: This reassures your customers that you are vetted and endorsed by trusted agencies.
  • Present users with a coupon code upfront: Announce on your home page that you have a coupon code and make it easy to copy. If possible, enable the code to be applied automatically. You may opt to offer discounts to first-time customers only to encourage new visitors to make their first purchase.

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Personal priorities

It may simply come down to personal reasons and preferences. A reported 58.6 percent of consumers leave a site with an item in the cart because they were just looking and not quite ready to buy.

We live in a highly distracted society. When making a purchase on a mobile device, phone calls and notifications divert the user’s attention away completely. A variety of personal factors may come into play when a user almost finishes a purchase but for some reason doesn’t.

Here’s what you can do to combat this cumbersome issue.

The Solution: Retargeting

Let’s say a customer added an item to their cart on your mobile website, but then Facebook sent a notification that their friend is doing a live stream. They click on the notification to go check out the video feed. When the video ends, they go check their Facebook feed.

Facebook has almost 2.5 billion active monthly users, and the number of users continues to grow around 10 percent each year. If your website was set up for Facebook retargeting, this customer would likely see your associated ad front and center when scrolling through their feed. It’s a little push to remind them that they were about to make a purchase from you.

A retargeted ad acts as a sales agent to move in and close the deal. You need not resort to begging for the sale, but present them with something enticing. This would be an ideal spot to offer something that sweetens the deal, such as an exclusive discount.

With abandoned shopping carts, all is not lost

In an increasingly competitive marketplace and with the short attention span of internet culture, consumers can be difficult to get a grip on.

The frugal will shop around for the cheapest price and lowest shipping. The cautious will seek reassurance through research. The impatient will expect an effortless transaction plus fast shipping. The distracted and indecisive will be all over the place.

But with creative solutions and implementing best practices, you can work to reduce friction by accommodating all of the above and keep all on track toward completing transactions.

The post 5 Reasons for Shopping Cart Abandonment (and How to Reduce it) appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Shelf Engine has a plan to reduce food waste at grocery stores, and $12 million in new cash to do it

For the first few months it was operating, Shelf Engine, the Seattle-based company that optimizes the process of stocking store shelves for supermarkets and groceries, didn’t have a name.

Co-founders Stefan Kalb and Bede Jordan were on a ski trip outside of Salt Lake City about four years ago when they began discussing what, exactly, could be done about the problem of food waste in the US.

Kalb is a serial entrepreneur whose first business was a food distribution company called Molly’s, which was sold to a company called HomeGrown back in 2019.

A graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in actuarial science, Kalb says he started his food company to make a difference in the world. While Molly’s did, indeed, promote healthy eating, the problem that Kalb and Bede, a former Microsoft engineer, are tackling at Shelf Engine may have even more of an impact.

Food waste isn’t just bad for its inefficiency in the face of a massive problem in the US with food insecurity for citizens, it’s also bad for the environment.

Shelf Engine proposes to tackle the problem by providing demand forecasting for perishable food items. The idea is to wring inefficiencies out of the ordering system. Typically about a third of food gets thrown out of the bakery section and other highly perishable goods stocked on store shelves. Shelf Engine guarantees use for the store and any items that remain unsold the company will pay for.

Image: OstapenkoOlena/iStock

Shelf Engine gets information about how much sales a store typically sees for particular items and can then predict how much demand for a particular product there will be. The company makes money off of the arbitrage between how much it pays for goods from vendors and how much it sells to grocers.

It allows groceries to lower the food waste and have a broader variety of products on shelves for customers.

Shelf Engine initially went to market with a product that it was hoping to sell to groceries, but found more traction by becoming a marketplace and perfecting its models on how much of a particular item needs to go on store shelves.

The next item on the agenda for Bede and Kalb is to get insights into secondary sources like imperfect produce resellers or other grocery stores that work as an outlet.

The business model is already showing results at around 400 stores in the Northwest, according to Kalb and it now has another $ 12 million in financing to go to market.

The funds came from Garry Tan’s Initialized and GGV (and GGV managing director Hans Tung has a seat on the company’s board). Other investors in the company include Foundation Capital, Bain Capital, 1984 and Correlation Ventures .

Kalb said the money from the round will be used to scale up the engineering team and its sales and acquisition process.

The investment in Shelf Engine is part of a wave of new technology applications coming to the grocery store, as Sunny Dhillon, a partner at Signia Ventures, wrote in a piece for TechCrunch’s Extra Crunch.

“Grocery margins will always be razor thin, and the difference between a profitable and unprofitable grocer is often just cents on the dollar,” Dhillon wrote. “Thus, as the adoption of e-grocery becomes more commonplace, retailers must not only optimize their fulfillment operations (e.g, MFCs), but also the logistics of delivery to a customer’s doorstep to ensure speed and quality (e.g., darkstores).”

Beyond Dhillon’s version of a delivery only grocery network with mobile fulfillment centers and dark stores, there’s a lot of room for chains with existing real estate and bespoke shopping options to increase their margins on perishable goods as well.

 

Startups – TechCrunch

Treasure8 adds Chris Cowart to its executive team as it renews pushing its tech to reduce food waste

Chris Cowart, the longtime IDEO product designer, Singularity University faculty member and consultant to a variety of venture firms and tech projects, is joining the food preservation technology developer Treasure8 as its new chief innovation and strategy officer, according to a post on LinkedIn.

“In the last three years food has come to the fore as a theme,” said Cowart in an interview with TechCrunch. Cowart, who previously spent the majority of his time consulting on healthcare companies, became interested in food through a year spent as an advisor to X, the Alphabet subsidiary that develops technologies and companies focused on sustainability, connectivity and new computing paradigms.

At X, Cowart was looking at projects that would use artificial intelligence to accelerate circular economy projects and it was there that he began to focus on food waste. The gravity of the situation around America’s food waste and food insecurity in the country was driven home through Cowart’s research, he said. “We overproduce by double and we throw away 30% of our food,” said Cowart. “And in Santa Clara county one-in-six families are food insecure.”

After completing his project at X, Cowart went to Treasure8 and was immediately pulled into strategy conversations, which led to him coming on board in June.

Unlike Apeel Sciences or Hazel Technologies, which have developed new preservative technologies to keep food fresh on store shelves (and raised several hundred million dollars), Treasure8’s technology is a new spin on freeze-drying, which lets perishable foods hold their nutritional value while they’re used as ingredients, supplements or powders.

Brands can reform it with rehydration, or put it into their products or reuse pieces of the vegetables and fruits in their products. “There are byproducts that you can break down and start to use to pull out their nutrients into probiotics and nutraceuticals,” said Cowart.

He also thinks that Treasure8 could use its process to become a provider of biochar that can be applied in more sustainable agriculture techniques.

Treasure8 initially launched with a focus on food preservation, but quickly pivoted into working with cannabis companies that wanted to work with the company to use more parts of the cannabis plant in products. For now, Treasure8 is operating off of its pilot facility on Treasure Island, the man-made island in the San Francisco Bay which is currently the site of a multi-billion-dollar development project.

With its new innovation officer in tow, Treasure8 is now heading to market to raise a new round of financing, Cowart said. Targeting less than $ 50 million, the new round could help the company as Cowart starts to think longer term about ways that Treasure8’s treatment process could contribute to the development of more functional foods.

“Taking food waste streams to make products and ingredients and letting it be something useful rather than something that harms the environment, that’s the interesting part,” Cowart said of his role at the company. “[And] if you’re able to go from food security to nutritional security… If you can powder vegetables, and make them into bits and food that are stable and affordable… All of this nutrition feeds into the food as medicine and functional food. We’re going to want to fight immunity and recover from viruses and we’re going to have to rebuild our food supply.”

 

Startups – TechCrunch