FreshToHome latest startup in cold chain delivery market
An innovative approach to supply chains can itself form the basis for a successful company, as Indian e-commerce startup FreshToHome is finding.
The company raised $20mn from a Series B funding round led by Indian venture capital fund Iron Pillar. The latest round comes just three months after the last, which saw the company raise $11mn in a Series A Funding Round led by CE Ventures.
FreshToHome’s USP is that it delivers fresh food, such as fish and meat, acquired directly from local producers, cutting out the middle-man for what it says is reduced costs and improved quality.
As reported by TechCrunch, FreshToHome has at least 400,000 customers spread across Bengaluru, the National Capital Region, Chennai and Kerala, interfacing with 1,500 Indian fishermen.
CEO Shan Kadavil told TechCrunch at the time of its last round that FreshToHome wants to “Uber-ize farmers and fishmen in India. We are giving them an app — around which we have a US patent — for commodity exchange. What farmers and fishermen do is they bid with us (as mandated by local laws) electronically using the app.”
The firm is far from alone in recognising the potential of this business model in the Indian market, with competitors such as online supermarket bigbasket. Also specialising in the cold chain, fresh food side of the market is Licious and ZappFresh.
As reported by pymnts.com, Anand Prasanna, managing partner of investor Iron Pillar, said: “FreshToHome’s brand proposition has been to provide 100 percent fresh food with 0 percent chemicals — not an easy thing to achieve in India at a large scale. By smartly using big data and machine learning, they have created a sustainable supply chain, which offers a fair price to consumers, fishermen and farmers, for their premium produce.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”