News May 21 2019

Zebra Technologies to Acquire Profitect Inc.

  Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the edge of the enterprise with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge, today announced it intends to acquire Profitect Inc., a privately-held, leading provider of prescriptive analytics for the retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. Using machine learning and prescriptive analytics, Profitect’s solution identifies opportunities to positively impact sales and margin for some of the most recognized retail and CPG brands in the world. Profitect uses data from across the value chain for improving inventory and pricing accuracy, out of stocks, supply chain inefficiency, unsellable merchandise, and assortment discrepancies. The solution identifies a potential opportunity and can generate suggested actions, sending them directly to a worker’s mobile device, providing step-by-step instructions for resolution. By enabling users to understand and act on data, Profitect customers typically realize sales lift, as well as margin and labor productivity improvement enabling a better overall consumer experience. Zebra will also leverage the investment to accelerate the development of its Savanna data platform through the acquisition of Profitect’s technology, talent, and skillsets. Combining the real-time data that Zebra solutions capture, with Profitect’s access to operational data, machine learning, and prescriptive analytics, Zebra will work with its’ partners to empower front-line workers even more – across all verticals - with the insights they need to make better, faster, smarter decisions. “The acquisition of Profitect expands our relevancy deeper and wider in global retail operations while advancing our software capabilities to make our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision even more accessible,” said Anders Gustafsson, Chief Executive Officer of Zebra Technologies. “We have had a strong relationship with Profitect for the past five years through Zebra Ventures, and we are excited to take our strategic investment to the next level by welcoming the Profitect team to the Zebra family.” “We are excited to join Zebra and bring our award-winning prescriptive analytics solution to every worker at the edge,” said Guy Yehiav, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Profitect, who will be a key leader in the business integration. “Together we will ensure the workforce of the future is more connected and optimally utilized. We value Zebra’s support and expertise over the past five years as a key venture capitalist. I’m proud of the contribution that Profitect’s solution will bring to Zebra and look forward to working closely to deliver prescriptive analytics as part of its innovative and broad solution portfolio.” Zebra expects to fund the acquisition of Profitect with a combination of cash on hand along with fully committed financing available under its credit facility. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. The transaction is expected to be immaterial to sales and profitability in the near term. Financial terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed.   Zebra Technologies Safe Harbor Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements, as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, the statements regarding the company’s outlook and the ability to complete the acquisition of Profitect Inc. Actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the company’s forward-looking statements. These statements represent estimates only as of the date they were made. Zebra undertakes no obligation, other than as may be required by law, to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or any other reason after the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions and are subject to the risks and uncertainties inherent in Zebra’s industry, market conditions, general domestic and international economic conditions, and other factors. These factors include customer acceptance of Zebra’s hardware and software products and competitors’ product offerings, and the potential effects of technological changes. The continued uncertainty over future global economic conditions, the availability of credit and capital markets volatility may have adverse effects on Zebra, its suppliers and its customers. In addition, a disruption in our ability to obtain products from vendors as a result of supply chain constraints, natural disasters or other circumstances could restrict sales and negatively affect customer relationships. Profits and profitability will be affected by Zebra’s ability to control manufacturing and operating costs. Because of its debt, interest rates and financial market conditions will also have an impact on results. Foreign exchange rates will have an effect on financial results because of the large percentage of our international sales. The outcome of litigation in which Zebra may be involved is another factor. The success of integrating acquisitions could also affect profitability, reported results and the company’s competitive position in its industry. These and other factors could have an adverse effect on Zebra’s sales, gross profit margins and results of operations and increase the volatility of our financial results. When used in this release and documents referenced, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “outlook,” and “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to the company or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying these statements. Descriptions of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that could affect the company’s future operations and results can be found in Zebra’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company’s most recent Form 10-K.   ABOUT PROFITECT Profitect’s prescriptive analytics solution leverages pattern detection and machine learning to identify opportunities that impact sales and margin. Profitect takes retail and CPG company data to identify areas for improvement including: inventory accuracy, out of stocks, pricing accuracy, unsellable merchandise, and assortment discrepancies. Profitect customers typically realize a two to five percent increase in sales, better consumer experience, 10-15% basis point margin improvement, and labor productivity improvement within six months. To learn more about Profitect visit: www.profitect.com or follow the company on Twitter and LinkedIn.   ABOUT ZEBRA Zebra (NASDAQ: ZBRA) empowers the front line of business in retail/ecommerce, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare and other industries to achieve a performance edge. With more than 10,000 partners across 100 countries, we deliver industry-tailored, end-to-end solutions that intelligently connect people, assets and data to help our customers make business-critical decisions. Our market-leading solutions elevate the shopping experience, track and manage inventory as well as improve supply chain efficiency and patient care. Ranked on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Employers for the last four years, Zebra helps our customers capture their edge. For more information, visit www.zebra.com or sign up for our news alerts. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. ZEBRA and the stylized Zebra head are trademarks of Zebra Technologies Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2019 Zebra Technologies Corporation and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Portfolio April 30 2019

Butternut Box Raises £15m

You’ve probably heard of HelloFresh-style businesses where you are given tailored ingredients for your meals. Well now the concept has come, literally, to dog food. Butternut Box is a London startup now bringing tailored, delivered meals to British dogs. It’s aiming at dog owners who want high-quality ingredients put into meals for their precious pooches. The company is led by Goldman Sachs alumni Kevin Glynn and David Nolan (aged 27 and 30 respectively), and is now announcing a £1 million Seed round of investment from a leading London early stage investor, Passion Capital. Estimates for dog and cat food snacks in the UK is currently £3.1 billion per annum, but only a tiny minority of these products are cooked fresh. Plus, only two companies dominate an estimated 77% of the UK pet food market. However, they are not alone, competing with Lily’s Kitchen, Tails.com and Natural Instinct for this lucrative new market. That said, they say that unlike other brands, their proprietary algorithm identifies how many kcals each individual dog needs on a daily basis. They then remove the hassle by pre-portioning this kcal amount into daily servings. They even taste test all their food – with humans. Glynn says “Pet owners are left choosing their dog food in an aisle cluttered with washing powder and bin bags and dominated by a few unhealthy choices. Butternut Box  makes it easy and convenient to ensure dogs get the very best diet tailored for each individual.” They appear to be pushing at an open door. Just as in humans, obesity and related issues are said to be costing British dog owners over £200 million in vet’s fees. Overfeeding, and unhealthy food is leading to obesity. But Butternut Box’s algorithms might be one answer. Nolan says: “We know their age, weight, breed, activity levels and body condition. With this information, we can develop meals that meet the dog’s specific needs.” Meet the Quantified Dog. Why create this tailored approach? Well, a scientific study found that dogs who were fed a natural, home-made diet had a longer life capacity than those dogs who were fed industrial canned products. The difference which is mentioned in the study between those two diets is three years, a long time in dog years. After starting out in a family kitchen, with daily early morning trips to London’s Smithfield meat market, Butternut Box is now based in a kitchen in West London and sources all its meat direct in Ireland and Britain. So far it’s cooked over 250,000 individual meals since it launched in April 2016.

News March 26 2019

Israeli media app building co Applicaster raises $20m

Applicaster's platform helps media companies build content distribution applications. Israel startup Applicaster today announced a $20 million growth financing round led by Viola Growth, the Viola Group's growth fund, with participation from 83North Venture Capital and existing investors, among them Pitango Venture Capital, Saban Ventures, and Planven Investments.The current round brings the amount raised by the company to $60 million. Applicaster has developed a platform for media companies for building applications to distribute content. Applicaster, founded in 2011 by CEO Jonathan Laor and CTO Neer Friedman, works with broadcasting agencies and television networks to develop and produce applications designed to connect viewers to television programs and get them more involved with the content.The company operates a software as a service (SaaS) platform for managing applications for media companies, including tools for building and maintaining applications that make it possible to transmit content directly to the consumer on telephones, tablets, and smart television sets in a suitable manner for the various interfaces. The platform makes it possible to build and change the applications with a click, thereby providing Applicaster's customers with flexibility and speed.Applicaster does not disclose its revenue, but Laor says that the company has 100 customers, including Fox, DirecTV, and Viacom. Applicaster also developed an application for the 2018 Winter Olympics in cooperation with Olympic Channel, the official channel for the Olympic Games. Applicaster currently has 100 employees: 40 in Israel and the rest in New York, London, Miami, and San Jose. Following the financing round, the company plans to increase its staff in Israel by 20 employees, mainly in sales, product, and development."The media market today has giant players like Netflix and companies like it with huge development centers. The other companies are essentially not technology companies," says Viola Growth partner Eran Westman, who joined Applicaster's board of directors after the financing round. "These companies are constantly competing for users, and I believe that this trend will intensify, because everyone wants to give better service and more interesting applications that will earn them more money. What Applicaster does is to give those companies technological capabilities - a platform that will make it much easier for them to build and maintain an application, including analytics, software updates, and so forth." 

Portfolio March 21 2019

UnitedLex embraces legal AI with Seal Software deployment

Global legal services business, UnitedLex, is making use of legal AI technology provided by Seal Software, in what is a significant change of heart for a business that previously had a longstanding scepticism for such applications. The move is significant on multiple levels, one of which is that UnitedLex now has a huge private equity fund, CVC Capital Partners, as a majority owner which believes the enterprise legal group has ‘a multi-billion-dollar opportunity ahead’ according to comments from Siddharth Patel, Senior Managing Director at CVC at the time of the investment last year. It’s also a major additional validation of Seal – not that it really needed one given its long-running success at selling its legal AI review tech into the world’s largest companies. But, still, when a legal AI sceptic converts to a believer it’s always great to see.   The change of heart was explained to Artificial Lawyer by Dan Reed, CEO of the rapidly expanding UnitedLex, which formed back in 2006 and now takes on day to day legal matters for many of the world’s corporates at a level that is now in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Reed, who is extremely bullish about UnitedLex’s future growth prospects and business model, which includes working in partnership with law firms such as LeClair Ryan in the US, said: ‘We have a tech lab so we can test the solutions, because we want to make sure our clients are getting the best solutions.’ ‘We looked at several AI solutions and we believe that Seal is the only one that works for us. We are using Seal Software currently on client matters and it is a part of our delivery arm.’ Reed added that he expects to see greater use of this type of tool in the future. ‘We will see much more maturity [in AI tech],’ he added. Now, the words above may seem quite normal. You’ve all read clients of legal AI companies singing their praises before. What’s different here is that Reed and UnitedLex in general had until quite recently been very sceptical about AI tools – primarily because they didn’t believe they could really be of significant use. Reed noted that they had looked at Seal in the past and not felt moved to use it. But, he added, that after the merger with Apogee Legal last summer things changed. Prior to the merger Apogee and Seal had been working closely together and Apogee had been providing some of the NLP ‘toolkits’ for doc analysis that Seal’s corporate clients were using. Reed added that the interface also improved following the combination of the two companies and that had helped as well. He also stressed that more broadly he is still quite sceptical about the idea that lawyers’ working practices at the moment are being radically changed by technology. ‘The challenge is that it is generally an aspiration when it comes to tech. In the legal sector people are excited by e-signatures,’ he noted with some amusement. Is this a big deal? Yes. Because it shows: first, that large corporates want review work to be augmented with technology such as Seal’s legal AI capabilities, and secondly, that UnitedLex are now part of the ‘AI Users Club’ – a steadily growing family of law firms and legal businesses around the world. They also join the good company of several others working in the same segment of the market, including the smaller, but rapidly expanding Elevate, which bought out legal AI company LexPredict last year. Is this going to drive radical change within UnitedLex? Probably not in the short to medium term. They’re a big organisation with offices around the world, helping a multitude of clients, that includes the likes of GE. Seal may however – one would guess – steadily see its use level rise and spread, especially as more and more corporates demand rapid and effective tech-led review and contract analysis.

Portfolio March 20 2019

New Searchmetrics lighthouse ranking factors reports deliver custom insights for search success

Searchmetrics is combining insights from Google Lighthouse with its own extensive search data to give SEO professionals a fully-customized, comprehensive report highlighting the Google ranking factors that matter most to their specific market. Each Lighthouse Ranking Factors report comes complete with concrete recommendations for improving search performance based on an analysis of how a site compares with top ranking competitors. “This is so much more than just a simple SEO audit for your website,” explains Jordan Koene, CEO of Searchmetrics Inc.. “We take your keyword list and use Google‘s Lighthouse data − integrated with our data − to come up with an in-depth analysis of Lighthouse ranking factors and issues that are critical for your market. This helps us pinpoint a list of tailored recommendations to help you outperform your competition.” To compile the reports Searchmetrics first evaluates each customer’s web pages using the Google Lighthouse open source tool. This provides real-time metrics and insights in areas such as technical performance (including speed-related factors), accessibility and SEO performance. To this Searchmetrics adds in-depth analysis drawn from its own ranking factors data, courtesy of its continuously updated global search database. Using each customer‘s unique keyword set, the company generates a detailed breakdown of how the customer’s website performs against thousands of others. What are the most important ranking factors in that market segment? How does the customer’s site rate in those areas? And how can it improve? After having pulled the Lighthouse data and combined it with Searchmetrics ranking data, the results are interpreted and analyzed by search and digital marketing experts from the Searchmetrics Digital Strategies Group. They clearly explain the metrics, filter the most relevant factors and outline the key steps that will drive improvements. “Aimed at in-house SEO teams and agency professionals, Lighthouse Ranking Factors reports take the time and effort out of the data collection and analysis that is now essential for developing a next-generation search strategy and metrics,” explains Jordan. “Our experts sift through the data, identify the specific ranking factors that are important to the market you want to address and give you a check-list of key steps that your team can start working on right away.” Customers are required to provide a list of up to 1,000 top keywords that defines their market. Searchmetrics will gather the data, perform an in-depth analysis and provide a comprehensive report detailing key metrics, insights and recommendations, complete with a management summary.

Portfolio March 20 2019

FIA World Rally Championship expands coverage capabilities using LiveU HEVC technologies across 10 events in 2019

Following on from a very successful test of LiveU's technology at the ADAC Rallye Deutschland in Germany last August, WRC Promoter GmbH, the company that's responsible for all commercial aspects of the FIA World Rally Championship, has signed up to use LiveU's technology across 10 rallies this year. LiveU has already helped bring enhanced coverage of Rallye Monte-Carlo and Rally Sweden to viewers in 2019, with another eight events also set to benefit. They include: Tour de Corse, Rally de Portugal, Rally Italia Sardegna, Rally Finland, ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Rally Turkey, Wales Rally GB and Rally RACC Catalunya - Rally de España. Florian Ruth, Director of Content and Production, WRC Promoter, said, "We are using three LU600 HEVC-equipped units with associated LiveU server technology and LiveU Central for overall management. HEVC is very important for us to significantly reduce bandwidth and LiveU has fitted smoothly into our production workflows. Following on from the initial test last year, WRC Promoter has worked closely with LiveU to fully understand how to maximize the quality and the coverage. Ruth highlights the fact that at each event so far, they have continued this optimisation process, with the next rally - Tour de Corse - set to be the first time that the LU600s have been involved in testing camera positions in advance of the event. Signals are sent - both live and files using store and forward - to the WRC TV production unit where the LiveU servers are situated, normally in the event Service Park, with the content then pulled into the edit suite as required. Rally stages are spread up to 250 km around the Service Park at each event. Ruth said, "We are using LiveU in conjunction with our RF and satellite workflow, allowing us to significantly expand our coverage without having to worry about access to certain parts of events or rely on motorcycles to deliver the additional captured footage to us. In order to continue to fully engage existing viewers and to attract new audiences, we constantly need to innovate. Using LiveU is allowing us to think differently and to bring a fresh level of dynamism to our content as we can use locations at each event that simply weren't possible previously. LiveU will also be able to deliver content directly to our Production Hub as we begin to move to remote production." 2018 saw The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) reach its best ever global airtime figure of 14,208 hours over last season's 13 rounds, according to Nielsen Research. The WRC, recognised by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), has a long and celebrated history, with 14 rallies around the world forming the 2019 series. WRC Promoter handles all the TV production, including all the broadcast formats, as well as the marketing of the series and sponsorship rights. It also works to increase the number of participants and explores new venues for the calendar. Zion Eilam, Regional VP Sales (EMEA), LiveU, said, "We have worked very closely with WRC Promoter over the past few months to truly understand the considerable contribution challenges that they face and how we are able to work together to create new opportunities for them. We are very pleased that we've been chosen as a key part of their future development."