Nov 5, 2020

REEF Technology raises $700mn for ecommerce delivery hubs

Startup
reef
Ecommerce
SaaS
William Smith
2 min
Miami, Florida-based REEF Technology is developing a so-called “proximity-as-a-service” platform for urban logistics
Miami, Florida-based REEF Technology is developing a so-called “proximity-as-a-service” platform for urban logistics...

Miami, Florida-based REEF Technology is developing a so-called “proximity-as-a-service” platform for urban logistics.

REEF got its start with parking lots and garages, now operating over 4,500 such amenities. It transforms those distributed locations into “neighbourhood hubs” to support local on-demand economies. Local companies and large businesses alike can use its platform to deliver their products to the local area as part of a revenue sharing partnership, with the company operating 100 kitchens nationwide to fulfill food preparation as well as operations.

REEF also operates in non-food sectors, for instance partnering with DHL for ecommerce delivery and other for pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics.

The company yesterday announced a $700mn funding round led by Mubadala Capital, with the participation of a number of heavyweights including UBS Asset Management, Target Global, SoftBank and Oaktree Capital Management. A separate agreement with Oaktree also saw the launch of a $300mn joint vehicle to acquire real estate.

In a press release, Ari Ojalvo, CEO of REEF, said: “We are excited for this next stage of growth and are committed to continue learning, listening and working with our communities to reimagine urban real estate into localized and networked infrastructure that entrepreneurs and cities can use to deliver goods and services sustainably and directly to our neighborhoods. By working together, we can reimagine and rebuild our urban spaces for people, not just cars, and help our cities become more sustainable and inclusive centers of community and opportunity.”

The company said it would use the funds to expand its real estate while also further developing its technology platform.

Ervin Tu, Managing Partner of Softbank Investment Advisers, said: “We believe REEF’s conversion of city parking lots into urban logistics hubs makes them much more useful than in their current form. As we have witnessed during the pandemic, proximity to the consumer is increasingly important in today’s economy.”

(Image: REEF Technologies)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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