Blackbird is pleased to announce we have led an $8M Series A Investment into HIVERY - a Sydney-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup which is using data to reshape retail.

HIVERY works with retailers like Walmart and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies like The Coca-Cola Company to solve the retail industry’s three most important problems: location, location and location. HIVERY’s algorithms tell vending machine operators or supermarkets what product, and how much of it, to stock and how to lay it out for the best shopper experience.

This means that if you pass a vending machine at a train station in Japan or visit the beverage aisle at any Walmart store in the USA, it’s likely the products you see and where they have been placed have been optimized by HIVERY technology.

Origin

HIVERY came together at a hackathon. Co-founders, Jason Hosking and Franki Chamaki, convinced Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) to co-host an event around their biggest supply chain problems and there they combined forces with prominent data scientists from CSIRO’s Data61, Menkes van den Briel, Matthew Robards and Charles Gretton, who all became technical co-founders.

The company is unapologetically ambitious, product-driven and unwavering when it comes to their vision for HIVERY. Last year, they resisted pressure from a large retailer when a project trial quickly turned into conversations about an acquisition.

Retail Gravity

Hivery is solving the biggest problems of retail. The two greatest inputs of a retail store - space (rent) and people (wages) - are rising. Store retail is also now competing with online retail. Unless the sector makes a step-change productivity breakthrough, the industry will break down.

No greater question determines sales in the industry than what should be on the shelf and where.

You Should Work for HIVERY

Beyond their immediate management team, the company has surrounded themselves with a team of mentors and senior advisors from the retail world. HIVERY is extremely product-focused, with 70% of the 40 person-strong company working in their local Surry Hills office.

More recently, HIVERY was ranked #9 in Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 companies and ranked #82 of the top 500 high-growth companies in the Asia-Pacific by the Financial Times business newspaper.

There is a lot to be built and even more to be done, but the traction so far in vending machines, category management and trade promotion is highly promising. This, combined with the success witnessed by Walmart and The Coca-Cola Company shows they are building a product that has the possibility of bringing about great change at an industry level.

Stay tuned for updates, progress and notes from the HIVERY team on their website, Twitter and LinkedIn. And if you are a driven Engineer who wants to put the advances in machine learning and operations research into practice, check out their career page.