The ‘TECHquila Sunrise’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares the latest investments, acquisitions, innovations, and glorious implosions in Supply Chain Tech every week. If you are looking for a podcast about ‘so-and-so signed a contract with such and such,’ or ‘they just released version 20 of that same technology you didn’t buy last year,’ this is the wrong podcast for you. But if you are looking for real news and innovation, welcome to the Sunrise.
Here are some of the highlights of this episode of ‘TECHquila Sunrise’ with Supply Chain Now Host Greg White:
· Reporting updates: Manhattan, Amazon, Shopify
· Investment updates: Singapore-based Insider raised $32 million in series C funding with a growth equity deal; Mercado raised $2.5 million in funding with full support from all of their seed investors
· Emerging from stealth mode: Logistics, warehousing fulfillment and supply chain operations ‘Robots-as-a-service’ provider Dexterity
Greg White (00:00):
This week at tequila sunrise, it’s a double shot with big companies and small making big deals. It’s been a really active week and I’ll show you how a robotics company raised an unbelievable amount of money in its very first funding round. After coming out of stealth mode, you’ll learn about one acquisition by a big player, big bucks for others, and some sneaky, smart startups, all that, and the supply chain tech index. So listen up, it’s time to wake up to tequila sunrise, where unfortunately, without the aid of tequila, we open your eyes to how venture investing ticks along with the notable investments, acquisitions innovations, and inevitable implosions focused on supply chain tech every single week. This on Holy hour of the day, if you want to know tech, startup and investment has done, who’s winning who’s waning, who’s whining and who to track and supply chain tech.
Greg White (01:14):
Join us every Thursday for another blinding tequila, sunrise, Greg white here from supply chain. Now always happy, never satisfied, willing to acknowledge reality, but refusing to be bound by it. My goal is to inform, enlighten and inspire you in your own supply chain tech journey. In case you’re listening to us in the supply chain. Now main channel, you should know, you can now subscribe to tequila, sunrise on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or anywhere else you get. Your podcasts will only be in the mainstream for a few weeks more so don’t wait if you want to keep listening, subscribe to tequila, sunrise. So you don’t miss a thing. Hey, do you think supply chain is boring? Lots of people do. My father in fact, was a retail merchandising VP back when a company called Kmart actually mattered and there was no such term as supply chain, believe me.
Greg White (02:11):
He thinks it’s not only boring, but also that procurement purchasing logistics, warehouse and transportation, people are a pain in the ass. You might feel the same way, or you might just be awakening to this thing. We love to call supply chain wondering what all the fuss is about or hoping to increase your supply chain IQ and impress your friends at your next zoom happy hour. And you want to know how you can learn more about it? Well, if you want to build your knowledge in supply chain, you need to listen to get this supply chain is boring. That’s right. Supply chain is boring with Chris Barnes. Chris is a practitioner. He knows distribution logistics, apex, and about a hundred other acronyms, but more importantly, Chris knows the who’s who that got supply chain. We are that point us to where we’re going and take us to the next level in supply chain practice.
Greg White (03:05):
He interviews creators, inventors, and innovators that made supply chain. The facet negating Lee, boring discipline. It is today. Chris challenges, every guest to convince him that supply chain ain’t boring. So you know what I’m going to say, listen up and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Let’s see who’s up to the task of proving supply chain. Isn’t boring. Hey, this is another supply chain now joint. So be careful. You might just find boring, interesting a really big week for deals. And there are plenty for us to talk about. So let’s see what’s going on in supply chain tech this week. First, let’s start with the deal ticker this week 238 funding rounds for $6.8 billion 76 acquisitions for 13.8 billion, both numbers down from the previous week in terms of dollars and about level in terms of the number of rounds. So activity is still going on.
Greg White (04:08):
It’s good news. Alright, look, I’ve been promising the tequila sunrise supply chain tech stock index for a while. Now, can I confess a bit of frustration putting together this stock index? I got to say a bit over my head here in terms of finding a tool that compiles tracks and reports the index. And I’m just not that motivated to make it happen in Excel. That’s my confession in any case, I’ll get there. I promise. But for now let’s focus on a couple of things. Manhattan reported earnings just after episode five came out last week and as predicted by Zach’s they beat estimates again, they’ve hardly been rewarded though, as their stock has staggered now is down over four and a half percentage points since last week. I wish you could hear me shaking my head, the stock market, right? Shopify reports on Wednesday after recording, but before release of this episode.
Greg White (05:09):
So check the markets, Amazon reports Thursday. So keep your eyes open for that. That’ll be later the day that this episode comes out, what a week of deals this week, a couple of interesting deals for companies I’m familiar with. We’re probably all familiar with, let’s talk about some up and comers first and we’ll close with a blockbuster, a round for one company. Hold on for that big one. So insider a Singapore base SAS multichannel experience orchestration company. That’s a mouthful raised $32 million in series C funding. So this is a growth equity deal. Remember so congrats to the founders. Who’ll take some duckets home and get some new duds on orchard road. The round, which brought total funding to date to $47 million was led by Riverwood capital and was joined by Sequoia Wanda and endeavor catalyst in conjunction with the funding vice president at Riverwood. Joe Pino is joining insider’s board, pretty typical for a growth equity round like this.
Greg White (06:19):
Here’s what’s cool about this company. Insider provides an AI powered platform that enables enterprise marketers to connect customer data across channels and systems predict their future behavior. And with an AI powered intent engine orchestrate and deliver individualized experiences to customers. It’s also worth noting that this approach of, as I say, forecasting, the customer needs to transfer from marketing. Who’s been doing it for a while to supply chain, to planning, inventory optimization and agility. Don’t worry I’m on that. You may see that in the market soon enough Mercado, a Dallas, Texas based international supply chain platform connecting global supply with global demand, raise $2.5 million in funding. This company founded in 2018 and led by Rob Garrison, their CEO and founder Mercado provides an international supply chain for importers to improve their business operations drive greater automation, collaboration, transparency, and predictability, lots of keywords there. This round though led by iron spring, which was joined by new investors, supply chain ventures company.
Greg White (07:37):
I’ve not heard of, but I’m going to have to take a look at this. Investment comes after Mercado closed at 3.2 million seed round in November, 2019, led by live Oak partners with participation from schematic ventures, story ventures and amplifier. Here’s why this is interesting. I’m saying this in all capital letters, all of the seed investors who had previously invested in Mercado participated in this round with full support. That’s big. That shows an incredible amount of faith in the company, in the marketplace. And particularly in the leadership team though, they will have a new board member, uh, iron spring ventures managing partner, Thai Findley will join the board. Here’s another interesting freight tech smart hop drives a new truck dispatch tool with a four and a half million seed round smart hop secured the round to develop a tech enabled dispatch tool to help small trucking companies grow their businesses.
Greg White (08:44):
The seed round smart hop’s first venture funding was led by the way, leading an investment round. Here’s a lesson for us. Leading an investment round means writing the biggest check. That’s how you lead. And usually the lead investor in any investment round is who takes the board seat. If a board seat is given. So this first venture funding was led by equal ventures with participation from gray Croft and Los Olas VC. The investment will be used to build out the company’s team, particularly engineering and marketing, pretty common at this stage of company, especially engineering and the founders have some history with big players like Nestle and Latin America. This quote from Guillermo Garcia CEOs is since 2018, we have really been testing the waters last year was about building the technology, talking to customers and iterating our message. Then we went through Techstars in New York to understand our business model love to hear that getting outside guidance is always a smart move by founders and tech stars is a great incubator slash accelerator organization to help companies get to the next level.
Greg White (09:59):
Okay, here come a couple of the big ones, Scottsdale Arizona based blue yonder, formerly known as JDA software. I wish you could see me shaking my head acquired Yon tricks, a SAS provider of commerce and fulfillment microservices. The idea there being to combine Yon tricks, real time fulfillment systems with supply chain planning, forecasting and fulfillment solutions by JDA blue yonder to power commerce. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. It is worth noting here that blue yonder in may took an estimated $1.1 billion investment from Panasonic valuing blue yonder at 5.5 billion post-money meaning after the investment and giving the electronics maker a 20% stake. So there’s value there. I don’t know how big [inaudible] is. They really hit the market. It seems like relatively recently, but they did land target and Petco, Nike, and a few companies that are, um, fading, no fault of their own JC Penney.
Greg White (11:12):
And I can’t remember what the others were. Okay. We’re going to go deep on a couple of deals this week. So there are some lessons in these deals. Um, one is, if you haven’t had your head buried in the sand freight waves, and if you don’t know who freight waves is there a daily media streaming network and a data provider for the global freight market Friday last Friday raised $37 million in two rounds of funding. So we’ll talk a little bit about how that happened. The Chattanooga based startup SAS platform, sonar provides data intelligence and analytics to transportation and logistics providers, shippers financial traders and analysts. So they can make data driven decisions on exposure and pricing. Kane partners fund led the round providing $30 million in capital for growth opportunities. The Cain partners fund investment comes after an unreported insider 7 million investment round that took place in April.
Greg White (12:19):
When leadership chose to raise funds from existing investors, eight VC pro logis Fanta Nolis Hurst revolution, ascend Pritzker, and Craig fuller himself. The two new rounds give freight waves, a total of $75 million in capital raised since its inception in 2016. Freight waves. Last venture raise was in February, 2019 at 21 million series B round led by eight VC. According to Crunchbase data, Freightways said Kane partner’s investment was a minority non-control investment. This is relevant, a minority non-control investment, and that the funds managing partner and co-head of growth equity Nishita Cummings will join its board common. For, as I said before, for the lead to join the board interesting that they chose to stay, that it was a non-control investment. So we’ll talk about that a little bit more later. Cain partners is really active in the freight tech space with investments that include other tech software companies, such as drive wise and decisive.
Greg White (13:30):
There are couple things about this investment that interests me. Remember, disclaimer, this is my opinion. And arguably my association with supply chain now could be considered competitive with freight waves. So take what I say with a grain of salt, but this is one person’s opinion I’m speculating, but the $7 million round was likely a bridge by current shareholders to carry the company through short term cash was due to COVID-19 or possibly due to the cancellation of the two freight wave live events that made up 50% of first half revenue in 2019. Still the company’s revenues increased by 50% over first half of 2019. So good news there and also freight waves did not take any PPP money from the federal government. So here’s another interesting take, let’s say Kane, the VC who invested solely in this growth equity round took as little as 20, a 20% stake for $30 million invested typically 20 to 25% would be the least equity stake, an investor, a growth equity investor would take.
Greg White (14:50):
So a 20% stake post-money on a $30 million investment means freight waves. Valuation could be as much as $150 million. Feel free to check my math out there, but it’s not likely higher than that. A couple of other interesting points since freight waves felt compelled to say the Cain stake was a non-control investment, which should go without saying at this stage of the company growth equity is almost always a minority stake and a non-controlling investment. It makes me wonder if Cain acquired a significant minority stake, which would indicate that the valuation is lower than $150 million and $75 million in total investment in a company with only a hundred myth, $50 million in valuation at this point would be troublesome for investors because of their target on returns to investment. Now let’s acknowledge that wording can be tricky, but it matters. The point is it did not need to be said that the investment was a minority stake.
Greg White (16:04):
So it makes me wonder why they said it sometimes messages like these inadvertently tip us to a subconscious thought. This is something I learned to look out for in these kinds of indicators from tech contract negotiation, great and partner emeritus at Morris Manning and Martin, and the person who literally, and I mean literally wrote the book on technology licensing, uh, Larry street, also a professor Ameritus at Emory university. So that’s my wild eyed analysis from that standpoint. Here’s what’s key that value in the company is in my opinion, in the subscription services generated by sonar, which provides the data intelligence and analysis to the freight market. As stated before one final statement made in Chattanooga business trend also gave me reason to pause just again, wording, and maybe I’m over analyzing both of these things, but the statement is most of the data on the sonar platform is proprietary and offered exclusively by freight waves.
Greg White (17:16):
It’s this word most that stood out to me could mean nothing. And it’s common to get data from outside sources, but it makes me wonder what data and how much that matters when as part of their valuation freight waves is staking their claim to the data territory they make mention of being the freight equivalent of Bloomberg. That’s a mighty tall bar, but I sure like the idea if that is in fact their main focus, that would be a really cool business. Finally recall. This is a growth round. Remember likely means that some of the funds went to founders and key shareholders in addition to putting cash on the balance sheet. So I believe congrats are in order for Craig fuller. He probably got to take a check home and that’s good. He’s invested a lot of time and effort into this company, blue yonder, freight waves, and some of these other deals, especially blue yonder and freight waves. Those are big companies, big deals. And I can’t believe with the big deals done by those companies and especially companies that most of us have heard of that. This is the one that stood out to me, but it is a biggie. So bear with me, I’m a bit staggered by the sheer scale of both funding and the application. So here goes dexterity headquartered in Palo Alto, raised a fee
Speaker 2 (18:38):
Greg White (18:41):
$10 series, a round of investment. So they may have had some seed investment. There is no SI other seed investment on the records that I can find anyway, by the way. And it’s worth noting that this investment came from some heavy hitters. So it was led by B 37 ventures start X, which is Stanford universities fund and other heavy hitters like Lightspeed and Kleiner Perkins. Who’ve invested in some of the biggest, very biggest names in tech and Kleiner. Perkins has been around since the seventies and there were nine total, a round investors. So I’m not even naming five of the others that are involved. So let’s talk about what dexterity does they offer robots as a service solution soup to nuts, uh, sorry, American colloquialism. That means the whole thing from start to end. They do the whole thing. So these robots are for logistics, warehousing fulfillment and supply chain operations.
Greg White (19:52):
The company, especially excels in fulfillment, kitting packing palletizing de palletizing. And sortation because they develop these robots with human, like dexterity, including touch in warehouses, robots that pick and place anything. And can they say gracefully adapt to unpredictable situations? So maybe they’re better than humans in that regard. This company just came out of stealth mode. So stealth mode means they were operating behind the scenes. Hadn’t really announced what they were doing. Usually you do that when you don’t want the competition to get the jump on you, or you’ve got something really big and you want to wait until it’s ready for the world to bring it out. They were not in the market yet focusing for two and a half years on designing and building the technology. Having already deployed a team of collaborative, intelligent robots in production. I don’t know who the customer is, who has deployed that.
Greg White (20:54):
Another interesting thing, their robots have these unique capabilities aside from human light touch and dexterity, they can collaborate. So the company has described this roadmap that they present for these dexterous intelligent robots level one immobile robots locked in cages and cells work on one pre CRO program task level, two immobile semi-intelligent robots that can adapt and are able to do one of a few semi structured tasks, level three, a team of immobile semi-intelligent robots working on a shared unstructured task with predefined human robot interactions, level four, a team of mobile intelligent robots that collaborate and work in synchrony on an unstructured task with dynamic human robot interactions, meaning not predefined human robot interactions and an unstructured task, meaning not specifically defined by code or process flow or something like that. Level five, a human robot team working on a set of interrelated, collaborative tasks with everyone focused on doing what they do best, sorry, that’s mindblowing.
Greg White (22:18):
Let me say that again. A human robot team working on a set of interrelated, collaborative tasks with everyone focused on doing what they do best robots, doing what they do best humans doing what they do best virtually maybe literally standing side by side, to do these things and interacting and collaborating actively. Okay. And there is actually a level six, a distributed human robot team that operates in synchrony to do multiple related tasks in multiple unstructured workflows, across locations with cross task scheduling and global productivity optimizations. Whew. Okay. Dexterities robots are currently operating at level four in production at customer warehouses today and are laying the groundwork for a transition to level five. So level four is pretty impressive. Mobile intelligent collaboration, robots working in synchrony again with dynamic, not pre-prescribed human robot interactions and, and they’ll soon be moving to level five, the mind blowing one, where they work on a set of interrelated, collaborative tasks, all unstructured with everyone doing what they do best they’ll jointly optimize this whole productivity of these home human robot teams.
Greg White (23:45):
They will work together to optimize the productivity. Um, I can’t even imagine the science that must be behind that really impressive. Obviously it’s impressed. Some really big investors, Kleiner, Perkins, and Lightspeed, both are particularly insightful and foresightful investors so impressive that they would invest at such a high level in such an early stage company. There must be something really special there that’s the takeaway from that. All right, gang, I hated to let one more episode go without a specific lesson, but there was a lot of learning in the deals we talked about, but Hey, if there is ever anything you want to know about regarding founding growing or investment in early stage techs, please feel free to ping me on LinkedIn or on Twitter. I’m at Gregory S. White. I’m happy to help any time. All right, that is all you need to know about supply chain tech for this week.
Greg White (24:45):
Don’t forget to get to supply chain now, radio.com for more supply chain. Now series like the one I described earlier, supply chain is boring. Love that title for interviews and events and all kinds of activities going on at supply chain now. And don’t forget to get your buzz on our supply chain. Now weekly live stream, you got to join 10,000 or so of your fellow supply chain professionals for the supply chain news of the week. Each Monday at noon Eastern time with Scott Luton, Scott Luton and me live on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or Twitch. And in one of our episodes, you might even get to hear from mr. Supply chain, Daniel Stanton, just follow supply chain now on any of those platforms and get notified when we go live. And this is my final request. If you’re listening and you haven’t subscribed, please commit subscribe to tequila, sunrise, wherever you get your podcasts. Most of you listen on Apple podcasts or Spotify, by the way, I do look at the analytics of listen up. Thanks for spending your valuable, valuable time with me and remember acknowledged reality, but never, ever be bound by it.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Demo Perez started his career in 1997 in the industry by chance when a relative asked him for help for two just weeks putting together an operation for FedEx Express at the Colon Free Zone, an area where he was never been but accepted the challenge. Worked in all roles possible from a truck driver to currier to a sales representative, helped the brand introduction, market share growth and recognition in the Colon Free Zone, at the end of 1999 had the chance to meet and have a chat with Fred Smith ( FedEx CEO), joined another company in 2018 who took over the FedEx operations as Operations and sales manager, in 2004 accepted the challenge from his company to leave the FedEx operations and business to take over the operation and business of DHL Express, his major competitor and rival so couldn’t say no, by changing completely its operation model in the Free Zone. In 2005 started his first entrepreneurial journey by quitting his job and joining two friends to start a Freight Forwarding company. After 8 months was recruited back by his company LSP with the General Manager role with the challenge of growing the company and make it fully capable warehousing 3PL. By 2009 joined CSCMP and WERC and started his journey of learning and growing his international network and high-level learning. In 2012 for the first time joined a local association ( the Panama Maritime Chamber) and worked in the country’s first Logistics Strategy plan, joined and lead other associations ending as president of the Panama Logistics Council in 2017. By finishing his professional mission at LSP with a company that was 8 times the size it was when accepted the role as GM with so many jobs generated and several young professionals coached, having great financial results, took the decision to move forward and start his own business from scratch by the end of 2019. with a friend and colleague co-founded IPL Group a company that started as a boutique 3PL and now is gearing up for the post-Covid era by moving to the big leagues.
Sales Support Intern
Alex is pursuing a Marketing degree and a Certificate in Legal Studies at the University of Georgia. As a dual citizen of both the US and UK; Alex has studied abroad at University College London and is passionate about travel and international business. Through her coursework at the Terry College of Business, Alex has gained valuable skills in digital marketing, analytics, and professional selling. She joined Supply Chain Now as a Sales Support Intern where she assists the team by prospecting and qualifying new business partners.
Joshua is a student from Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey Campus Guadalajara in Communication and Digital Media. His experience ranges from Plug and Play México, DearDoc, and Nissan México creating unique social media marketing campaigns and graphics design. Joshua helps to amplify the voice of supply chain here at Supply Chain Now by assisting in graphic design, content creation, asset logistics, and more. In his free time he likes to read and write short stories as well as watch movies and television series.
Director of Communications and Executive Producer
Donna Krache is a former CNN executive producer who has won several awards in journalism and communication, including three Peabodys. She has 30 years’ experience in broadcast and digital journalism. She led the first production team at CNN to convert its show to a digital platform. She has authored many articles for CNN and other media outlets. She taught digital journalism at Georgia State University and Arizona State University. Krache holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans. She is a serious sports fan who loves the Braves. She is president of the Dave Krache Foundation. Named in honor of her late husband, this non-profit pays fees for kids who want to play sports but whose parents are facing economic challenges.
Vicki has a long history of rising to challenges and keeping things up and running. First, she supported her family’s multi-million dollar business as controller for 12 years, beginning at the age of 17. Then, she worked as an office manager and controller for a wholesale food broker. But her biggest feat? Serving as the chief executive officer of her household, while her entrepreneur husband travelled the world extensively. She fed, nurtured, chaperoned, and chauffeured three daughters all while running a newsletter publishing business and remaining active in her community as a Stephen’s Minister, Sunday school teacher, school volunteer, licensed realtor and POA Board president (a title she holds to this day). A force to be reckoned with in the office, you might think twice before you meet Vicki on the tennis court! When she’s not keeping the books balanced at Supply Chain Now or playing tennis matches, you can find Vicki spending time with her husband Greg, her 4 fur babies, gardening, cleaning (yes, she loves to clean!) and learning new things.
Ben Harris is the Director of Supply Chain Ecosystem Expansion for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Ben comes to the Metro Atlanta Chamber after serving as Senior Manager, Market Development for Manhattan Associates. There, Ben was responsible for developing Manhattan’s sales pipeline and overall Americas supply chain marketing strategy. Ben oversaw market positioning, messaging and campaign execution to build awareness and drive new pipeline growth. Prior to joining Manhattan, Ben spent four years with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Logistics where he played a key role in establishing the Center as a go-to industry resource for information, support, partnership building, and investment development. Additionally, he became a key SME for all logistics and supply chain-focused projects. Ben began his career at Page International, Inc. where he drove continuous improvement in complex global supply chain operations for a wide variety of businesses and Fortune 500 companies. An APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Ben holds an Executive Master’s degree in Business Administration (EMBA) and bachelor’s degree in International Business (BBA) from the Terry College at the University of Georgia.
Host, The Freight Insider
Prior to joining TeamOne Logistics, Page Siplon served as the Executive Director of the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, the State’s leading consulting resource for fueling logistics industry growth and global competitiveness. For over a decade, he directly assisted hundreds of companies to overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities related to the movement of freight. During this time, Siplon was also appointed to concurrently serve the State of Georgia as Director of the larger Centers of Innovation Program, in which he provided executive leadership and vision for all six strategic industry-focused Centers. As a frequently requested keynote speaker, Siplon is called upon to address a range of audiences on unique aspects of technology, workforce, and logistics. This often includes topics of global and domestic logistics trends, supply chain visibility, collaboration, and strategic planning. He has also been quoted as an industry expert in publications such as Forbes, Journal of Commerce, Fortune, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, American Express, DC Velocity, Area Development Magazine, Site Selection Magazine, Inbound Logistics, Modern Material Handling, and is frequently a live special guest on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Radio Show. Siplon is an active industry participant, recognized by DC Velocity Magazine as a “2012 Logistics Rainmaker” which annually identifies the top-ten logistics professionals in the Nation; and named a “Pro to Know” by Supply & Demand Executive Magazine in 2014. Siplon was also selected by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Most Influential Georgians” for 2013, 2014, and 2015. He also serves various industry leadership roles at both the State and Federal level. Governor Nathan Deal nominated Siplon to represent Georgia on a National Supply Chain Competitiveness Advisory Committee, where he was appointed to a two-year term by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was then appointed to serve as its vice-chairman. At the State level, he was selected by then-Governor Sonny Perdue to serve as lead consultant on the Commission for New Georgia’s Freight and Logistics Task Force. In this effort, Siplon led a Private Sector Advisory Committee with invited executives from a range of private sector stakeholders including UPS, Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Georgia Pacific, CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Siplon honorably served a combined 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force. During this time, he led the integration of encryption techniques and deployed cryptographic devices for tactically secure voice and data platforms in critical ground-to-air communication systems. This service included support for all branches of the Department of Defense, multiple federal security agencies, and aiding NASA with multiple Space Shuttle launches. Originally from New York, Siplon received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a focus on digital signal processing from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He earned an associate’s degree in advanced electronic systems from the Air Force College and completed multiple military leadership academies in both the Marines and Air Force. Siplon currently lives in Cumming, Georgia (north of Atlanta), with his wife Jan, and two children Thomas (19) and Lily (15).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kristi Porter is VP of Sales and Marketing at Vector Global Logistics, a company that is changing the world through supply chain. In her role, she oversees all marketing efforts and supports the sales team in doing what they do best. In addition to this role, she is the Chief Do-Gooder at Signify, which assists nonprofits and social impact companies through copywriting and marketing strategy consulting. She has almost 20 years of professional experience, and loves every opportunity to help people do more good.
Host, Supply Chain Now en Espanol
Sofia Rivas Herrera is a Mexican Industrial Engineer from Tecnologico de Monterrey class 2019. Upon graduation, she earned a scholarship to study MIT’s Graduate Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and graduated as one of the Top 3 performers of her class in 2020. She also has a multicultural background due to her international academic experiences at Singapore Management University and Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg. Sofia self-identifies as a Supply Chain enthusiast & ambassador sharing her passion for the field in her daily life.
Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Katherine is a marketing professional and MBA candidate who strives to unite her love of people with a passion for positive experiences. Having a diverse background, which includes nonprofit work with digital marketing and start-ups, she serves as a leader who helps people live their most creative lives by cultivating community, order, collaboration, and respect. With equal parts creativity and analytics, she brings a unique skill set which fosters refining, problem solving, and connecting organizations with their true vision. In her free time, you can usually find her looking for her cup of coffee, playing with her puppy Charlie, and dreaming of her next road trip.
Host, Supply Chain Now
The founder of Logistics Executive Group, Kim Winter delivers 40 years of executive leadership experience spanning Executive Search & Recruitment, Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Advisory, Motivational Speaking, Trade Facilitation and across the Supply Chain, Logistics, 3PL, E-commerce, Life Science, Cold Chain, FMCG, Retail, Maritime, Defence, Aviation, Resources, and Industrial sectors. Operating from the company’s global offices, he is a regular contributor of thought leadership to industry and media, is a professional Master of Ceremonies, and is frequently invited to chair international events.
He is a Board member of over a dozen companies throughout APAC, India, and the Middle East, a New Zealand citizen, he holds formal resident status in Australia and the UAE, and is the Australia & New Zealand representative for the UAE Government-owned Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), the Middle East’s largest Economic Free Zone.
A triathlete and ex-professional rugby player, Kim is a qualified (IECL Sydney) executive coach and the Founder / Chairman of the successful not for profit humanitarian organization, Oasis Africa (www. oasisafrica.org.au), which has provided freedom from poverty through education to over 8000 mainly orphaned children in East Africa’s slums. Kim holds an MBA and BA from Massey & Victoria Universities (NZ).
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Adrian Purtill serves as Business Development Manager at Vector Global Logistics, where he consults with importers and exporters in various industries to match their specific shipping requirements with the most effective supply chain solutions. Vector Global Logistics is an asset-free, multi-modal logistics company that provides exceptional sea freight, air freight, truck, rail, general logistic services and consulting for our clients. Our highly trained and professional team is committed to providing creative and effective solutions, always exceeding our customer’s expectations and fostering long-term relationships. With more than 20+ years of experience in both strategy consulting and logistics, Vector Global Logistics is your best choice to proactively minimize costs while having an exceptional service level.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Kevin Brown is the Director of Business Development for Vector Global Logistics. He has a dedicated interest in Major Account Management, Enterprise Sales, and Corporate Leadership. He offers 25 years of exceptional experience and superior performance in the sales of Logistics, Supply Chain, and Transportation Management. Kevin is a dynamic, high-impact, sales executive and corporate leader who has consistently exceeded corporate goals. He effectively coordinates multiple resources to solution sell large complex opportunities while focusing on corporate level contacts across the enterprise. His specialties include targeting and securing key accounts by analyzing customer’s current business processes and developing solutions to meet their corporate goals. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Jose Manuel Irarrazaval es parte del equipo de Vector Global Logistics Chile. José Manuel es un gerente experimentado con experiencia en finanzas corporativas, fusiones y adquisiciones, financiamiento y reestructuración, inversión directa y financiera, tanto en Chile como en el exterior. José Manuel tiene su MBA de la Universidad de Pennsylvania- The Wharton School. Conéctese con Jose Manuel en LinkedIn.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Nick Roemer has had a very diverse and extensive career within design and sales over the last 15 years stretching from China, Dubai, Germany, Holland, UK, and the USA. In the last 5 years, Nick has developed a hawk's eye for sustainable tech and the human-centric marketing and sales procedures that come with it. With his far-reaching and strong network within the logistics industry, Nick has been able to open new avenues and routes to market within major industries in the USA and the UAE. Nick lives by the ethos, “Give more than you take." His professional mission is to make the logistics industry leaner, cleaner and greener.
Host, Logistics with Purpose
Allison Krache Giddens has been with Win-Tech, a veteran-owned small business and aerospace precision machine shop, for 15 years, recently buying the company from her mentor and Win-Tech’s Founder, Dennis Winslow. She and her business partner, John Hudson now serve as Co-Presidents, leading the 33-year old company through the pandemic.
She holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of Georgia, a Masters in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University, a Masters in Manufacturing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate of Finance from the University of Georgia. She also holds certificates in Google Analytics, event planning, and Cybersecurity Risk Management from Harvard online. Allison founded the Georgia Chapter of Women in Manufacturing and currently serves as Treasurer. She serves on the Chattahoochee Technical College Foundation Board as its Secretary, the liveSAFE Resources Board of Directors as Resource Development Co-Chair, and on the Leadership Cobb Alumni Association Board as Membership Chair and is also a member of Cobb Executive Women. She is on the Board for the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Northwest Area Councils. Allison runs The Dave Krache Foundation, a non-profit that helps pay sports fees for local kids in need.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Billy Taylor is a Proven Business Excellence Practitioner and Leadership Guru with over 25 years leading operations for a Fortune 500 company, Goodyear. He is also the CEO of LinkedXL (Excellence), a Business Operating Systems Architecting Firm dedicated to implementing sustainable operating systems that drive sustainable results. Taylor’s achievements in the industry have made him a Next Generational Lean pacesetter with significant contributions.
An American business executive, Taylor has made a name for himself as an innovative and energetic industry professional with an indispensable passion for his craft of operational excellence. His journey started many years ago and has worked with renowned corporations such as The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) leading multi-site operations. With over 3 decades of service leading North America operations, he is experienced in a deeply rooted process driven approach in customer service, process integrity for sustainability.
A disciple of continuous improvement, Taylor’s love for people inspires commitment to helping others achieve their full potential. He is a dynamic speaker and hosts "The Winning Link," a popular podcast centered on business and leadership excellence with the #1 rated Supply Chain Now Network. As a leadership guru, Taylor has earned several invitations to universities, international conferences, global publications, and the U.S. Army to demonstrate how to achieve and sustain effective results through cultural acceptance and employee ownership. Leveraging the wisdom of his business acumen, strong influence as a speaker and podcaster Taylor is set to release "The Winning Link" book under McGraw Hill publishing in 2022. The book is a how-to manual to help readers understand the management of business interactions while teaching them how to Deine, Align, and Execute Winning in Business.
A servant leader, Taylor, was named by The National Diversity Council as one of the Top 100 Diversity Officers in the country in 2021. He features among Oklahoma's Most Admired CEOs and maintains key leadership roles with the Executive Advisory Board for The Shingo Institute "The Nobel Prize of Operations" and The Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME); two world-leading organizations for operational excellence, business development, and cultural learning. He is also an Independent Director for the M-D Building Products Board, a proud American manufacturer of quality products since 1920.
Lori is currently completing a degree in marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing at the University of Georgia. When she’s not supporting the marketing efforts at Supply Chain Now, you can find her at music festivals – or working toward her dream goal of a fashion career. Lori is involved in many extracurricular activities and appreciates all the learning experiences UGA has brought her.
Social Media Manager
My name is Chantel King and I am the Social Media Specialist at Supply Chain Now. My job is to make sure our audience is engaged and educated on the abundant amount of information the supply chain industry has to offer.
Social Media and Communications has been my niche ever since I graduated from college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. No, I am not a West Coast girl. I was born and raised in New Jersey, but my travel experience goes way beyond the garden state. My true passion is in creating editorial and graphic content that influences others to be great in whatever industry they are in. I’ve done this by working with lifestyle, financial, and editorial companies by providing resources to enhance their businesses.
Another passion of mine is trying new things. Whether it’s food, an activity, or a sport. I would like to say that I am an adventurous Taurus that never shies away from a new quest or challenge.
Trisha is new to the supply chain industry – but not to podcasting. She’s an experienced podcast manager and virtual assistant who also happens to have 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher. It’s safe to say, she’s passionate about helping people, and she lives out that passion every day with the Supply Chain Now team, contributing to scheduling and podcast production.
Business Development Manager
Clay is passionate about two things: supply chain and the marketing that goes into it. Recently graduated with a degree in marketing at the University of Georgia, Clay got his start as a journalism major and inaugural member of the Owl’s football team at Kennesaw State University – but quickly saw tremendous opportunity in the Terry College of Business. He’s already putting his education to great use at Supply Chain Now, assisting with everything from sales and brand strategy to media production. Clay has contributed to initiatives such as our leap into video production, the guest blog series, and boosting social media presence, and after nearly two years in Supply Chain Now’s Marketing Department, Clay now heads up partnership and sales initiatives with the help of the rest of the Supply Chain Now sales team.
Vice President, Production
Amanda is a production and marketing veteran and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience across a variety of industries and organizations including Von Maur, Anthropologie, AmericasMart Atlanta, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Amanda currently manages, produces, and develops modern digital content for Supply Chain Now and their clients. Amanda has previously served as the VP of Information Systems and Webmaster on the Board of Directors for APICS Savannah, and founded and managed her own successful digital marketing firm, Magnolia Marketing Group. When she’s not leading the Supply Chain Now production team, you can find Amanda in the kitchen, reading, listening to podcasts, or enjoying time with family.
Constantine Limberakis is a thought leader in the area of procurement and supply management. He has over 20 years of international experience, playing strategic roles in a wide spectrum of organizations related to analyst advisory, consulting, product marketing, product development, and market research. Throughout his career, he's been passionate about engaging global business leaders and the broader analyst and technology community with strategic content, speaking engagements, podcasts, research, webinars, and industry articles.Constantine holds a BA in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and an MBA in Finance & Marketing / Masters in Public & International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.
Host, Veteran Voices
Mary Kate Soliva is a veteran of the US Army and cofounder of the Guam Human Rights Initiative. She is currently in the Doctor of Criminal Justice program at Saint Leo University. She is passionate about combating human trafficking and has spent the last decade conducting training for military personnel and the local community.
Host of Dial P for Procurement
Kelly is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has been in procurement since 2003, starting as a practitioner and then as the Associate Director of Consulting at Emptoris. She has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point since 2009. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and ‘Finance Unleashed’.
Host of Logistics with Purpose and Supply Chain Now en Español
Enrique serves as Managing Director at Vector Global Logistics and believes we all have a personal responsibility to change the world. He is hard working, relationship minded and pro-active. Enrique trusts that the key to logistics is having a good and responsible team that truly partners with the clients and does whatever is necessary to see them succeed. He is a proud sponsor of Vector’s unique results-based work environment and before venturing into logistics he worked for the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). During his time at BCG, he worked in different industries such as Telecommunications, Energy, Industrial Goods, Building Materials, and Private Banking. His main focus was always on the operations, sales, and supply chain processes, with case focus on, logistics, growth strategy, and cost reduction. Prior to joining BCG, Enrique worked for Grupo Vitro, a Mexican glass manufacturer, for five years holding different positions from sales and logistics manager to supply chain project leader in charge of five warehouses in Colombia.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business and a BS, in Mechanical Engineer from the Technologico de Monterrey in Mexico. Enrique’s passions are soccer and the ocean, and he also enjoys traveling, getting to know new people, and spending time with his wife and two kids, Emma and Enrique.
Host of Digital Transformers
Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized Thought Leader, Industry Influencer and Founder/Author of the award winning “Cloud Musings” blog. He has also been recognized as a “Top 5G Influencer” (Onalytica 2019, Radar 2020), a “Top 50 Global Digital Transformation Thought Leader” (Thinkers 360 2019) and provides strategic consulting and integrated social media services to AT&T, Intel, Broadcom, Ericsson and other leading companies. Mr. Jackson’s commercial experience includes Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and SAIC (Engility) Director Cloud Solutions. He has served on teams that have supported digital transformation projects for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the US Intelligence Community. Kevin’s formal education includes a MS Computer Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School; MA National Security & Strategic Studies from Naval War College; and a BS Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy. Internationally recognizable firms that have sponsored articles authored by him include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix and IBM. Books include “Click to Transform” (Leaders Press, 2020), “Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions” (Packt, 2018), and “Practical Cloud Security: A Cross Industry View” (Taylor & Francis, 2016). He also delivers online training through Tulane University, O’Reilly Media, LinkedIn Learning, and Pluralsight. Mr. Jackson retired from the U.S. Navy in 1994, earning specialties in Space Systems Engineering, Carrier Onboard Delivery Logistics and carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Control. While active, he also served with the National Reconnaissance Office, Operational Support Office, providing tactical support to Navy and Marine Corps forces worldwide.
Director of Sales
Tyler Ward serves as Supply Chain Now's Director of Sales. Born and raised in Mid-Atlantic, Tyler is a proud graduate of Shippensburg University where he earned his degree in Communications. After college, he made his way to the beautiful state of Oregon, where he now lives with his wife and daughter.
With over a decade of experience in sales, Tyler has a proven track record of exceeding targets and leading high-performing teams. He credits his success to his ability to communicate effectively with customers and team members alike, as well as his strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
When he's not closing deals, you can find Tyler on the links or cheering on his favorite football and basketball teams. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing pick-up basketball, and traveling back to Ocean City, Maryland, his favorite place!
Principal, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain is Boring
Talk about world-class: Chris is one of the few professionals in the world to hold CPIM-F, CLTD-F and CSCP-F designations from ASCM/APICS. He’s also the APICS coach – and our resident Supply Chain Doctor. When he’s not hosting programs with Supply Chain Now, he’s sharing supply chain knowledge on the APICS Coach Youtube channel or serving as a professional education instructor for the Georgia Tech Supply Chain & Logistic Institute’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program and University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Center for Professional Education courses.
Chris earned a BS in Industrial Engineering from Bradley University, an MBA with emphasis in Industrial Psychology from the University of West Florida, and is a Doctoral in Supply Chain Management candidate.
Principal & CMO, Supply Chain Now
Host of Supply Chain Now and TECHquila Sunrise
When rapid-growth technology companies, venture capital and private equity firms are looking for advisory, they call Greg – a founder, board director, advisor and catalyst of disruptive B2B technology and supply chain. An insightful visionary, Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams in creating breakthroughs to gain market exposure and momentum – increasing overall company esteem and valuation.
Greg is a founder himself, creating Blue Ridge Solutions, a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader in cloud-native supply chain applications, and bringing to market Curo, a field service management solution. He has also held leadership roles with Servigistics (PTC) and E3 Corporation (JDA/Blue Yonder). As a principal and host at Supply Chain Now, Greg helps guide the company’s strategic direction, hosts industry leader discussions, community livestreams, and all in addition to executive producing and hosting his original YouTube channel and podcast, TEChquila Sunrise.
Founder, CEO, & Host
As the founder and CEO of Supply Chain Now, you might say Scott is the voice of supply chain – but he’s too much of a team player to ever claim such a title. One thing’s for sure: he’s a tried and true supply chain expert. With over 15 years of experience in the end-to-end supply chain, Scott’s insights have appeared in major publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and CNN. He has also been named a top industry influencer by Thinkers360, ISCEA and more.
From 2009-2011, Scott was president of APICS Atlanta, and he continues to lead initiatives that support both the local business community and global industry. A United States Air Force Veteran, Scott has also regularly led efforts to give back to his fellow veteran community since his departure from active duty in 2002.