Praetura Ventures invests £ 1.5 million in artificial intelligence start-up Sparkbox
- AI Start-Up Sparkbox Helps River Island, Matchesfashion.com, and Other Big Brands Improve Profitability and Reduce Inventory Waste
Praetura Ventures has invested £ 1.5m in a Manchester-based start-up that uses artificial intelligence and insightful data to help major brand merchandising teams make better stock buying and pricing decisions.
Sparkbox’s solution, which River Island and Matchesfashion.com rely on, enables retailers to forecast demand, optimize pricing and promotions, and plan inventory to reduce waste and the need for big discounts.
Launched in 2019, Sparkbox has experienced considerable success in the market to date. In a recent trial with a fashion retailer worth over £ 500 million, Sparkbox improved its cash margin on rebates by 34% and paid back its client’s investment in just 34 days.
In addition to protecting retailers from profit losses, Sparkbox’s approach to data also has the potential to help brand sustainability goals by preventing retailers from ordering excess stock, with extensive reports that fashion alone is responsible up to 10% of global carbon emissions.
Sparkbox will use Praetura Ventures’ investment to double its team and integrate additional fashion, home and seasonal retailers, where deadstock is a constant challenge across the board.
The company was co-founded by Lindsay Fisher and Matthew Wong, members of Forbes 30 Under 30, and Kevin Blackmore, who prior to Sparkbox was vice president of Customer Insights at Best Buy and a retail analytics partner at Accenture.
Overall, the founding team has 50 years of experience in global retail, including previous work with Arcadia and The Very Group.
The team started Sparkbox after seeing an opportunity to innovate in an industry that still relies heavily on spreadsheets, guesswork and gut feeling to make important business decisions.
In line with Praetura Ventures’ commitment to provide more than just financial support to the businesses it supports, Colin Greene, VC’s operating partner, who was previously director of Apple Consumer Retail in the US, will join the Sparkbox board. .
Sparkbox co-founder Lindsay Fisher said:
“As a team of former retailers, we have seen firsthand how the retail industry is advancing in many areas, but has fallen behind when it comes to data-driven decisions. We know how much potential there is for artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve profits and reduce waste in retail and are thrilled to have Prateura join us in our mission to modernize merchandising and insert data. behind the important pricing and inventory decisions our users make every day. “
Colin Greene, operational partner of Praetura Ventures, added:
“Sparkbox’s approach to inventory optimization has the power to make huge changes in fashion and home retail, which is clearly lagging behind when it comes to adopting technology within merchandising. I am looking forward to working with the team and sharing some of the lessons I have learned from my time at Apple and other technology companies that I have been fortunate enough to work closely with over the years. Praetura’s broader team is thrilled to support another fantastic Northern tech business and to provide more than cash support to make Sparkbox an ideal solution for even more home improvement brands. “
Named to watch in the growing North tech ecosystem, Sparkbox makes up the list of companies selected for Enterprise City’s second start-up exchange program at the Bonded Warehouse Department, which is supported by Praetura Ventures.
A graduate of the Google for Startups UK immersion program, the company is also a current member of Tech Nation’s Applied AI 3.0 cohort and was previously recognized as a Tech Nation Rising Star. In addition, the team was named one of the best technology start-ups for retail by Retail Week and in 2019 won the Fashion District Retail Innovation Challenge.
The deal was managed by Peter Carway and Louise Chapman of Praetura Ventures’ investment team and supported by the legal team from Gateley’s Manchester office. Sparkbox was supported by Adam Kaucher and his team at Irwin Mitchell in Manchester.
For more information or to arrange a chat with Sparkbox, please contact:
Sparkbox is a Manchester-based retail tech startup that has a mission to help retailers use data. The company’s software solutions use machine learning to help retailers make data-driven pricing and inventory decisions, ultimately improving profitability and reducing waste.
Sparkbox was founded by a team of retail professionals who previously worked with Arcadia, The Very Group, and US retailers Best Buy and Target. The team started trading in 2019 and already counts River Island and Matchesfashion.com as clients.
Sparkbox has been recognized by Forbes, Retail Week, Fashion District and Tech Nation as “one of the UK’s most exciting and innovative early technology companies”.
Contact: Lindsay Fisher (Co-founder)
Information on Praetura Ventures
Praetura Ventures is a Manchester based venture capital firm investing in early stage and high growth businesses across the UK, with a focus on supporting entrepreneurs in the north of England.
Praetura Ventures is committed to adding value after investment and providing the “more than money” support that companies need to grow, including additional skills, resources, networks and guidance, to investee companies.
Since 2019, Praetura Ventures has invested over £ 20 million in 21 companies, including Northwest-based Sorted, Culture Shift, LCC and Peak.
The company has also launched a Venture Partner Program, an innovative and collaborative program aimed at experienced, connected and successful individuals who want to add value and potentially provide mentoring, consulting, introductions and investments to the next generation of entrepreneurs. In just a few months, the company has expanded its Venture Partner base to over 50 members, typically C-suite level individuals.
Sparkbox Secures £ 1.5m Seed Investment From Praetura Ventures – UK Technology Investment News
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