E-Commerce Economics Are Broken, Says Tech Startup Tradeswell. It Has A Plan To Help Fix Them.

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Paul Palmieri was looking at various direct-to-consumer startups as possible investments for his venture capital fund when he decided the e-commerce economics didn’t add up.

“I definitely saw a lot of opportunity to invest in direct to consumer brands, but every time we would get close, we would look at it and say, gosh, the numbers are somewhat broken,” he said.

While the sales potential is great, the fees brands pay to what Palmieri calls the ecosystem of e-commerce enablers—for advertising, for keywords, for warehousing, for fulfillment—are destroying margins.

So instead of investing in a DTC brand, Palmieri decided to invest in starting a company that would help brands large and small master the new math of e-commerce.

The company, Tradeswell, emerged from stealth mode last week after beta testing its platform since the beginning of this year.

The platform uses artificial intelligence to analyze a brand’s data and performance on e-commerce marketplaces and help them make better decisions to maximize their margins.

Palmieri likes to describe Tradeswell as a Bloomberg terminal for e-commerce.

“We’re the first algorithmic trading platform for e-commerce brands to trade their goods at the speed and velocity of today’s markets,” Palmieri said.

While it doesn’t doesn’t directly trade goods (at least not yet), Tradeswell can automate functions like keyword bidding for better search and marketing results, or advise brands which of the marketplaces they are operating on—i.e. Amazon
AMZN
, Walmart
WMT
, Target
TGT
—is giving them the best return, or which product sizes or assortments are the most profitable.

Brands who sign on with Tradeswell allow the platform to access their e-commerce data and the platform uses artificial intelligence to “reveal insights

Pachama: Carbon-credit startup puts a price on trees, market opportunity

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  • Backed by Amazon and a fund led by Bill Gates, Pachama runs a marketplace for forest carbon credits. 
  • Carbon credits are generated when a forest is conserved or restored. 
  • As more companies pledge to reduce or eliminate their emissions, the market for carbon credits is expected to surge.
  • Researchers challenge the idea that carbon credits effectively curb deforestation and reduce global emissions.
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In August, a forest fire, set by lightning and emboldened by climate change, whipped across the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, ultimately burning more than 85,000 acres.

Diego Saez Gil’s home was among those destroyed.

It was in that home that Saez Gil dreamed up the idea for his startup Pachama. Founded in 2018, the company hopes to fight climate change — which makes wildfires more common and severe — by protecting forests.

“It is meaningful that now my house is taken by the consequences of climate change, and that those forests will need restoring soon,” Saez Gil, the company’s cofounder, wrote on Medium the day after his home was destroyed. “You can’t make our mission more personal to me now.” 

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Saez Gil’s startup is a tech company, but it’s not your typical Silicon Valley startup.

Pachama sells carbon credits, which represent the carbon dioxide that trees remove from the air. Forests that are protected or restored can generate credits, and companies can buy them to offset their own emissions.

The idea is that, in doing so, businesses can help curb deforestation while reducing their overall climate footprints. 

Though Pachama is just a few years old, it has won backing from major investors including Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Amazon, and the tennis

Crypto startup raises $2.2 million in fundraise to simplify governance for token delegates

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Count this as another sign that the scrappy market for decentralized finance is growing up. 

Boardroom, a company developing a platform for DeFi governance, has completed a $2.2 million raise. The round was led by Standard Crypto, which was joined by a slew of digital asset investors including Slow Ventures, CoinFund, and Framework. The firm says it will use the fresh cash to build a suite of tools for DeFi power-users and protocols delegates to more seamlessly participate in governance decisions across projects.

Despite the breakneck growth of the DeFi market in recent months, governance has been fragmented and clunky. Stakeholders are forced to navigate disparate channels to access information about governance decisions and then vote, says Boardroom founder Kevin Nielson.

For instance, users who want to delegate their voting power to a third-party have to jump through a number of hoops to do so. In some cases token holders even have to self-delegate to vote on a given proposal (such as a change to interest rates offered on a DeFi lending platform).

In DeFi, users can offload their voting power to third-party delegates, but the process isn’t always straight forward and varies from protocol to protocol. In addition to simplifying delegation, Boardroom looks standardize the way in which protocol decisions are communicated to stakeholders. “We provide a standardization on top of the protocol,” said Nielson.

Part of that means moving projects from Discord channels and Twitter to the platform where they can more efficiently target stakeholders. In a sense, the platform resembles a DeFi-twist on Wall Street’s corporate governance platforms such as Nasdaq Boardvantage, which connects public company leadership with its board members. 

 In the future, the firm will offer a white-label service for DeFi projects as well, Nielson said.

“Think of it as governance as a service,” Nielson

Agbioscience startup using multisensor drone technology sees growth

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IMAGE

IMAGE: Despite changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup focused on research-grade sensing data for agriculture is growing as it takes multisensor drone data collection technology to…
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Credit: Chris Adam/Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Despite changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, a Purdue University-affiliated agbioscience startup focused on research-grade sensing data for agriculture is growing as it takes multisensor drone data collection technology to market.

GRYFN, which offers precise geomatics solutions for coaligned and repeatable multisensor drone data collection, is adding members to its team, growing its space, and looking to empower the future of agriculture research.

The startup partnered with Purdue and received a $2.25 million sub-award grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy. Eight Purdue professors founded GRYFN with backgrounds in aeronautic technology, biology, plant sciences, agricultural and biological engineering, civil engineering, and electrical and computer engineering.

The technology was originally developed under the Transportation Energy Resources from Renewable Agriculture (TERRA) program, through a $6.6 million ARPA-E grant awarded in 2015.

“The pandemic forced us to change the way we train and onboard new clients, and we moved to a larger, more traditional office space at the Purdue Research Park to accommodate growth and a safer workplace,” said Trenton Lindenman, the chief operating officer at GRYFN. “These past several months have provided numerous opportunities for us to expand, adding team members, and evaluating new technologies to empower researchers and breeders.”

GRYFN is using technology developed at Purdue and licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The GRYFN approach uses an unmanned aerial vehicle platform with a coaligned sensor package – visible RGB, LiDAR and very near infrared hyperspectral – along with processing software to enable breeders to scale research

RIC20 Startup Innovation Labs Showcase 20 Tech Innovators

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With a focus on emerging technologies and innovative
startups, the 2020 Retail Innovation Conference is featuring three Startup
Innovation Lab sessions that will introduce attendees to a total of 20 tech
innovators.

Startup Innovation Lab #1: 10-11 am ET, Oct. 13

Moderated by Orlando Ribas Fernandes of XnFinity-XNFY Lab, the first group of startups presenting include:

Omnichannel Fulfillment: onfleet – a last-mile delivery platform;  

Touchless Retail: SuperSmart – a validation and loss-prevention system for Scan & Go; 

Digital Commerce: Pointr – A deep location company combining indoor location intelligence with machine learning; 

Business Agility: Uncrowd – SaaS platform generates live-tracking Friction/Reward Indexes; 

Experiential Initiatives: Gravity AI  —  a MLaaS (Machine Learning as a Service) platform; and 

E-Commerce Optimization: Taste — making artificial intelligence fun and consumer-friendly, and offering a personalized shopping experience.  

Startup Innovation Lab #2, 10-11 am ET, Oct. 14

Ken Fenyo of Coresight Research will moderate tomorrow morning’s lab, with startups presenting that include:

Touchless Retail: Simbe Robotics — Simbe’s first product, Tally, is a fully autonomous shelf auditing and analytics solution;

Business Agility: Banyan — a powerful and transparent interchange platform between banks and merchants for SKU data;

Digital Commerce: Anagog — an AI-powered, smartphone-based contextual marketing solution that enables companies to collect valuable consumer behavior data from their daily interactions to deliver personalized and localized experiences;

Experiential Initiatives: 3DLook — A SaaS solution that provides mobile body scanning technology using computer vision, 3D geometry and neural networks to enable accurate human body measurement from photos taken on a mobile device;

E-Commerce Optimization: Newmine — an AI-powered returns reduction platform that helps retailers manage and reduce returns by collecting internal and external data, incorporating data science for analysis, alerting the relevant teams to root causes in near-real-time, managing resolutions and measuring success; and

Omnichannel Fulfillment: Position Imaging