July 31st, 2023

Auba, a startup leveraging Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to radically improve supply chain management and planning, has raised $3.5 million in pre-seed funding. The investment was led by Nazca, Foundamental and Village Global with Bridge partners, Nido Ventures, 0BS and angel investors also participating. The remote-first company, with a founding team that has experience from Tesla, Walmart, LVMH and Blend, will use the funds to further grow the team and accelerate product development.

For globally-minded companies, having robust and resilient supply chains is critical. Achieving this rests on having comprehensive communication systems – a constant flow of back and forth between different players at different points of the chain. However, the valuable data and insights in these conversations are currently trapped in emails, attachments, and instant messaging platforms. Existing software solutions are costly and complex to implement and most companies continue to rely on manual relay of conversations and manual data entry. 

Auba was founded in 2023 to fix this problem with an end-to-end approach – something which until now has been unseen on the market. By using proprietary AI technology, Auba gives supply chain managers and operators the ability to harness the insights held in conversations as well as the ability to map out their supply chain networks and get an overview and alerts of potential disruptions. In the long term, this converts to an AI assistant that learns and evolves with the company.

Adaptable across industries, the startup is targeting the largest markets in North America: automotive; machinery; electronics; retail and food; pharmaceuticals and medical devices. In the past 20 years, the value of intermediate goods traded globally has tripled to more than $10 trillion annually, giving Auba a massive market potential. Recently, Mexico was identified as a more influential trading partner for the US than China, something which Auba is tapping into given the inter-continental presence and foundation of the company.

Cutting through the supply chain chatter

As a result of fragmented supply chain communication processes, operators are failing to manage processes as efficiently as they need to – and it causes a massive financial blow to businesses if not rectified. Recent research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) has found that as much as 45% of one year’s EBITDA can be lost each decade because of disruptions. Having the tools to predict disruptions and plan accordingly can be a lifeline to companies – with focused supply-chain optimization, it’s estimated that companies can reduce costs by up to 25% in mid-large-sized companies.

Auba’s AI-based application provides a data overview of a company’s entire supply chain that is continually and constantly updated and developed. It cuts through the noise and gives the user the information they need instantly – information which would take weeks to be provided by rival tools. The tool acts as a widget, overseeing email and instant messaging communication to balance external data with internal knowledge to provide more comprehensive oversight. This enables Auba to identify potential problems in the supply chain and then proactively suggest fixes and alternative options – helping businesses save millions. 

Auba maps out supply chain networks, including things like transportation modes used, timelines, supplier details and vendor pain points. It matches insights collected with external data points, such as weather, security concerns and transport delays. Doing so provides a clear overview of what problems may arise with vendors, timelines, and transportation, taking an end- to-end approach.

For example, by leveraging external data sources, it can foresee that a storm is coming which could directly impact the transport of certain goods, potentially leading to delayed delivery times and storage and warehousing problems. Auba can predict these problems, identify what consequences this could have on the whole supply chain and enable managers to mitigate, or altogether avoid disruption to their operations. In addition, Auba evolves and learns with each individual company, becoming more accurate over time, supporting companies to enhance and streamline their supply chain processes and ultimately get goods to consumers in a more efficient and timely manner.

Built on a lifetime of supply chain experience

Founded by Diego Solorzano (co-CEO), Françoise Lavertu (co-CEO) and Austin Poore (CTO), Auba is built upon decades of experience with the complexities of supply chains. Solorzano, originally from Mexico, experienced the challenges that arise early on with his family’s business when transporting materials and goods between the US and Mexico. Whilst leading product management at Blend, he met co-founder Poore. Lavertu then joined the team, bringing with her years of experience working with the likes of Walmart, L’Oréal, and Tesla, where she saw first-hand the limitations of existing supply chain management tools as well as the impact this can have on a business when things go wrong.

The pre-seed funding will be used to expand the team and further develop the AI technology. Auba plans to bolster its tech team and will now accelerate the hiring of software engineers and data scientists.