Retail Disruption Creates Opportunities for the BOLD

Retail Disruption Creates Opportunities for the BOLD

Many well-known retail brands have shut down in the past few years. Many others are re-negotiating rent costs to buy time to find ways to cope with pressures of reduced customer footfall, sales figures and profits. This spreads retailers’ challenges to a wider community of corporate owners of retail space and their shareholders – which includes millions of us through pension schemes and government investments. So when media headlines shout “the high street is dying,” whether in the UK or in other markets, we ought to take note. Though is it really dying, or transforming? And how can new tech help physical retailers regain some ground by disrupting the disruptors?

Digital transformation

Online shopping has been the first and most visible stage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Unlimited possibilities for billions of people connected by personal hand-held devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, have been spearheaded by how we buy things.

This new reality has been provided by tech giants including Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. Though for many physical retailers the loss of just a small proportion of their sales has been enough to tip them in to a danger zone. Latest figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show 19% of all UK consumer purchasing takes place online, and the figure is still growing.

Source: UK Office of National Statistics (ONS)

Some business owners, particularly independent retailers and their vocal trade bodies, want to claim “Endangered Species” status and demand regulatory changes. In the UK these include adding a sales tax to online purchases and a review of the entire business rates system. 

While online retail is certainly a contributory factor to the UK high street and US main street malaise, it  is not the sole issue. The thriving retail fashion brand Primark, for example has no online presence, while its online-only rival ASOS has begun to experience problems and has issued profit warnings.

Lucy Stainton is Head of Retail and Strategic Partnerships at the Local Data Company, which monitors the rates of business openings and closures across 680,000 UK retail premises. In a panel session at a recent event about the retail sector she confirmed a very healthy 64% of UK retail outlets are still independently owned. And when asked what types of retailers are most commonly going out of business, her reply was “The boring ones!”

The fairness, or lack of it, of anyone who chooses to shop online paying a levy to subsidise ‘boring’ shops, presumably run by the less enterprising owners, is debatable. Though the case for a review of business rates has some clear validity: in round terms, retailing accounts for 5% of the UK GDP yet the retail sector is levied nearer 20% of the country’s total business rates.

The role of local government

A bigger issue is that many local authorities remain caught in a pre-online retail time warp. In the UK, reduced access to central government funding through recent years has been offset by allowing local councils to keep a higher proportion of the money raised through business rates. Local retailers are often treated as a cash cow, as if there was no competition and they have an inexhaustible supply of customers.

Retail Disruption Creates Opportunities for the BOLD

Road transport policies were geared to reducing town centre traffic congestion and air pollution, partly through restricting the availability of car parking spaces and making what does exist more expensive. Many local authorities fail to see a fuller, holistic picture in which shoppers now need to be encouraged to support local stores rather than deterred from going to them. 

And the store owners need to ensure shoppers find it a rewarding experience when they get there. The word ‘retailtainment’ has entered the lexicon.

Social, not just commercial value

A growing number of built environment planners and lobbyists seek ways to establish a social value as well as a commercial value of high streets and local communities, and thus influence local authority decision-making in new ways.

The innovation foundation Nesta has addressed this issue through creating a board game called Flourish! Once downloaded, it can be customised to account for local circumstances and provides an opportunity for a variety of stakeholders to come together and share their relative points of view over a few rolls of the dice to assess policy options for boosting a local economy and strengthening the community. 

Some Retail Categories are Growing

The presence of charity shops in high streets and shopping centres is often used as media shorthand to suggest an area has problems of retail decay and community decline. Admittedly, charities are keen to take up short-term leases and they pay just a small fraction of business rates bills. Though this is an out-of-date attitude. Recent research findings released recently by Giffgaff, a contract-free mobile phone service provider, shows the stigma over buying recycled goods is lifting. A third of UK shoppers have bought used and refurbished items, or what some prefer to describe as “pre-loved.”

Some charity shops are actually leading the way in providing a better customer experience. They don’t have new lines or sales to highlight through PR or expensive media advertising. Store volunteers have to recognise the value of conversing with both the shoppers and the people donating goods who come through the door. All represent an opportunity to start the process of converting a casual visitor up the loyalty ladder to become a regular financial donor, or maybe even a shop floor colleague. It requires further skills beyond just transactional.

Others are multi-purposing to add to their social value on a high street and in a community. As an example, Robin Osterley, CEO of the Charity Retail Association told a “Future of the High Street” meeting organised by the non-profit social network Smiley Movement that the British Heart Foundation is distributing defibrillators to all its shops for public use. And they will also soon offer free blood pressure testing.

Lucy Stainton of the Local Data Company added that in the first half of 2019 the fastest growing retail category in the UK was men’s barber shops, and 95% of them are independently owned. Where once there was once only a magazine rack, customers are increasingly drawn in by attractions such as pool tables, and encouraged to treat them as places to socialise. 

Retail Disruption Creates Opportunities for the BOLD
L to R: Lucy Stainton. Local Data Company; Enedina Columbano, TRAID, Neil Duffy, Retail TRUST; Andrew Goodacre, British Independent Retailers Association; Robin Osterley, Charity Retail Association

Online Tech that Support  Retailers

As much as the digital transformation of shopping habits has put pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers, there are also a growing number of tech providers offering to help them. Here is a selection.

Launchd in 2014 by a husband and wife team who began their retail careers with a market stall, Down Your High Street is a service that enables local independent retailers to achieve an online presence in a digital marketplace. Shoppers can source out-of-the-ordinary products from 530 independent shops based all over the country. They can also opt for an interest-free instalment payment plan if they wish through DYHS’s collaboration with the fintech payment platform Clearpay.

Dotty Directory provides advertising for small and medium size retailers on a number of websites with a local focus on areas around the UK. In return, their details are passed on to service providers such as insurance companies who will try to sell to them.

MaybeTech offers courses on using social media for local retailers to raise their online presence and attract more customers. Also, their platform uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help larger organisations listen and engage with their customers through social media, benchmark their results, and optimise the ROI of their activity.

LoLo (short for Local Loyalty) has started rolling out a mobile app that enables shoppers to benefit from using online tokens that unlock cash price reductions in local stores. The retailers can in turn use the tokens they accept to enjoy their own savings on goods and services they require for their business, including media advertising. When there are enough consumer users they will also receive customer data feedback in order to improve future decision-making on pricing and offers. The scheme is networked so that regardless of wherever tokens are earned they can be used with any retailer or service provider signed up to LoLo.

Near Street is a search platform that shows the availability of items in nearby physical stores alongside the regular online options of Amazon, eBay and so on. Any stores that maintain online records of stock levels can participate. The system also helps product manufacturers and brand owners check where their goods are after they have been delivered to distribution centres.

BOLD Awards 2020

There are 12 categories in the award programme. Some of the organisations included in this article are relevant to the Advertising, Fintech, Artificial Intelligence and Marketplaces sectors. Other categories include Open Innovation, Crowdsourcing, Agritech and Science. Entries are open now until December 31, and if you think you’ve got what it takes to be BOLD, check the full list of categories and please complete your details here -> http://bold-awards.com/submit-your-project

There will be a round of public voting in January 2020, that we hope you will take part in, after which a panel of international judges will decide the winners. The prestigious awards ceremony is a black-tie event that will be held on the campus of the startup accelerator hub H-Farm near Venice, Italy, on March 27.

Applications for an invitation to attend the award ceremony can be made via this link.

BOLD Startups Are Transforming Many Marketplaces

We are well acquainted with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Alibaba – the giants of online retail. These were among the first wave of pioneer disruptors who used the internet to rock the retail boat and make it easy and reliable for us to purchase goods and items from home or the office. Or on mobile devices, from anywhere with an internet signal.

Online shopping continues to grow in the UK and is currently estimated to represent 19% of the total. There is a Christmas shopping spike in November every year. The downside is a collapse of many large well-known retailers, as well as countless local independents, who have struggled to grasp the new reality and adapt their business models in time. But that’s another issue.

Source: UK ONS (Office of National Statistics)

Following the broad scale mass market platforms that have influenced many people’s behaviour, there is a growing range of specialist consumer and B2B marketplace platforms. Some are filling gaps as traditional markets disappear, some want to make traditional markets disappear, and through the use of technology some are providing services far beyond the scope of their traditional predecessors. Many were pitching to potential investors at a recent NOAH Conference in London where we caught up with them.

An important aspect of new technology that encourages many other startup marketplaces is the proliferation of fintech solution providers. Automated payment systems, such as provided by Tipalti, enable speedier, easier to manage and lower cost invoice processing and money transfer on a mass scale – cross-border if required – than legacy banks.

Consumer Marketplaces

Selling a home

Movewise is a proptech startup operating in the residential real estate sector. There are a lot of disappointed people who try to buy or sell domestic properties. Half the valuations made by estate agents don’t get listed. Those that are listed are frequently at over-estimated valuations to encourage sellers to go ahead. Then buyers mostly fail to make offers that meet the valuations.

Pure online services accounted for 5% of the UK market in 2018. However, many buyers and sellers remain wedded to the idea of using a traditional service and dealing with a person they believe they can trust. 

Founder and CEO Tom Scarborough

Movewise is targeting the other 95% of the market with an online service that deals direct with homeowners who want to sell. It provides them with a valid valuation based on mass data, checks where and what they are looking to move to, and then analyses the relative performance of different estate agents to put the homeowner in touch with the ones that have the best track record against their most important criteria.

Founder and CEO Tom Scarborough began Movewise in 2018 after the problems he went through selling his own property identified the pain points he hopes to solve. He says they will soon be crowdfunding.

Second-hand jewellery

Buying and selling second-hand jewellery is a global market worth £30bn. It is a slow, complex and fragmented buyers’ market in which sellers are subject to inconsistent valuations with no recognised independent yardstick of accuracy, competency or honesty. It can be a frustrating and time-consuming process to get a valid price.

Verado.com provides an independent valuation and makes details of the items available for sale to a global network of buyers. They aggregate offers from over a thousand national and international dealers to provide sellers with the absolute best price. They provide insurance for goods in transit, take payment from the buyer which is transferred to the seller within 7 days, and charge 10% commission.

Verado is the brainchild of Claudio de Giovanni, a serial entrepreneur with an MSc from London School of Economics.

Fashion retail

Any number of customer/purchase tracking systems can record the items we buy. But what about the reasons why we buy them, and what they show about us as a type of person?

Fashion journalist and psychologist Anabel Maldonado founded The Psychology of Fashion and in 2020 will launch PSYKHE. It is a test shoppers can take that reveals the Why they buy what they choose, not just the What they buy, powered by machine learning and personality trait science.

Once a retailer or a brand owner understands why a customer has certain preferences they can more skilfully create other recommendations for them. The shopper will receive better quality information that is more suited to their psychographic preferences, and will perhaps start to see those brands and retailers as their lifestyle partners.

The process can be extended to where people choose to go on holiday, where to dine out and where to work out, as examples.

Chartering a pleasure boat

Netherlands-based GotoSailing is a a 30 year old boat charter business. It has adopted new technology to disrupt its own market with an aim to be market leader in five years. Anyone registered with the platform can search a data base of 5,000 boats, specify additional services, and pay through an instant booking facility. It’s faster, safer and more comprehensive than was ever previously possible.

The boats are vetted by a team of experts. The costs have no hidden extras. Boats can be for exclusive use or with a hired kipper and crew. Payment is made to GotoSailing who in turn handle payments to the boat owners. The boat users cannot be charged by anyone else for anything else.

Sailing enthusiasts have access to boats they cannot afford to own, and boat owners start to earn an income from an asset that spends most of its time moored up somewhere. And 3% of all booking fees are donated to sailing clubs to help with their upkeep and encourage people to keep taking up sailing.

B2B Marketplaces

Livestock and crops

Stepping in to the gap left by the demise of many livestock markets in the UK’s traditional market towns is Hectare. Farmers are increasingly finding they have to transport their animals further to sell them at market. They may have to take from their own safe and disease-free locality to an area with a higher risk. It was becoming more expensive, taking more valuable time, and causing more stress.

Hectare is an online platform that examines numerous markets to aggregate current prices being paid. It provides an online interface for buying and selling livestock and cereal crops, and handles payment through its FarmPay service.

Hectare’s CEO Doug Bairner is a serial disruptor. He has worked in the marketing team at Red Bull, launched a cycle clothing business using crowdfunding, and worked for the crowdfunding-based craft beer maestros Brewdog.

Hectare (which was not pitching at the NOAH Conference) has raised over £3m from investors and organisations from grant funding from government schemes, to crowdfunding investment from individuals and farm businesses, and strategic investment from well known angel investors.

Scrap Metal

Most scrap metal originates from product manufacturing. Up to now it has been disposed of in a piece meal manner, often dealing with a shortlist of personally known buyers or, if new to the market, on a word of mouth basis.

Having built a business on new tech, German startup Schrott42 takes briefs from smelters and then find sellers who can meet each brief. They offer prices based on an extensive database of recent transactions. When a deal is agreed they collect the waste, deliver the waste to any one of 80 sites in Germany which is the most convenient for the smelter, take payment from the smelter, and the scrap metal provider is paid in 48 hours.

Schrott24 recently qualified for an EU grant worth €1.2m.

Live music industry

Swiss-based Optune is a live music industry booking platform. Performing live music has become more valuable to artists than sales of recorded music, yet 50% of the fees live music event organisers and promoters pay to artists doesn’t reach them. It goes to middlemen and supports a disorganised, inconsistent and inefficient supply chain.

The Optune web app enables artists, agents, promoters and venue managers to collaborate on and organize events together. Artists can set their availability, itineraries, riders, are provided with schedules and timetables, and all can create and exchange contracts and invoices with automatic templates. Optune facilitates the sharing and processing of all relevant event details, and every player can view the event and contribute to it in the same shared online space.

Once an artist is booked to appear an automated social media marketing programme kicks in.

BOLD Awards 2020

Marketplaces is one of 12 categories in the BOLD Awards 2020. You can check all 12 categories – which include AI, Robotics, Fintech, Agritech and Open Innovation – and submit your entry here, to December 31.

Public online voting will take place in January 2020, a panel of international judges will decide category winners, and awards will be presented at a black-tie ceremony hosted by our event partner H-Farm on their campus just outside Venice, Italy. The date for that is March 27, 2020. So, what are you waiting for?


Smart Farming, or the Future of Agriculture

Smart Farming, or the Future of Agriculture

We are a Ukraine-based company which means that our parents and grandparents lived in the era of infamous Soviet collective farms, where tractors were considered to be an ultimate technology. For them, a smart farm will sound like a fairy tale.

So let it be, a fairy tale of a smart farm.

First of all, what is a smart farm?

Smart Farming is a concept of farming management using modern Information and Communication Technologies to increase the quantity and quality of products.

Among the technologies available for present-day farmers there are

  • Sensing technologies, including soil scanning, water, light, humidity, temperature management;
  • Software applications — specialized software solutions that target specific farm types;
  • Communication technologies, such as cellular communication;
  • Positioning technologies, including GPS;
  • Hardware and software systems that enable IoT-based solutions, robotics and automation; and
  • Data analytics, that underlies the decision making and prediction processes.
Technologies involved in smart farming, according to Beecham Research 

Armed with all possible tools, farmers can monitor the field conditions without even going to the field and make strategic decisions for the whole farm or for a single plant.

The driving force of the smart farming is the IoT — the concept of connected smart machines and sensors integrated on farms to make farming processes data-driven and data-enabled.

IoT-based farming cycle:

The core of the IoT is the data — and more data. To optimize the farming process, IoT devices installed on a farm should collect and process data in a repeated cycle that enables farmers to quickly react to emerging issues and changes in ambient conditions.

Observation — sensors record observational data from the crops, livestock, the soil or atmosphere.

Diagnostics — the sensor values are fed to specific software with predefined decision rules and models that ascertains the condition of the examined object and any deficiencies or needs.

Decisions — after issues are revealed, the software determines whether location-specific treatment is necessary and if so, which.

Implementation — the treatment needs to be performed by means of the correct operation of machines.

After evaluation, the cycle repeats from the beginning.

It is believed that the IoT can add value to all areas of farming from growing crops to forestry. In this blogpost, we’ll talk about two big spheres where IoT systems can revolutionize agriculture: precision farming and farming automation/robotization.

Precision Farming

Applications of IoT in agriculture

Precision farming, or precision agriculture, is an umbrella notion for IoT-based approaches that make farming more controlled and accurate. In simple words, plants and cattle get precisely the treatment they need, determined with great accuracy. The biggest difference from the classical approach is that precision farming allows decisions to be made per square meter or even per plant/animal rather than for a field.

By precisely measuring variations within a field, farmers can boost the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, or use them selectively.

Precision Livestock Farming

Like in the case of precision agriculture, Smart Farming techniques, enable farmers to better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health.

Besides, large farm owners can use wireless IoT applications to monitor the location, well-being, and health of their cattle. With this information they can identify animals that are sick so they can be separated from the herd, and prevent the spread of disease.

Smart Farming, or the Future of Agriculture

Automation in Smart Greenhouses

Traditional greenhouses control the environmental parameters through manual intervention or a proportional control mechanism which often results in production loss, energy loss, and increased labor cost.

And IoT driven smart greenhouse intelligently monitors as well as controls the climate, eliminating the need for manual intervention. To do so, different sensors that measure the environmental parameters according to the plant requirement are used and store it in a cloud for further processing and control with minimal manual intervention.

Agricultural Drones

Agriculture is one of the major industries to incorporate both ground-based and aerial drones for crop health assessment, irrigation, crop monitoring, crop spraying, planting, soil and field analysis and other spheres.

Since drones collect multispectral, thermal, and visual imagery during the flight, the collected data provide farmers with insights into plant health indices, plant counting and yield prediction, plant height measurement, canopy cover mapping, field water ponding mapping, scouting reports, stockpile measuring, chlorophyll measurement, nitrogen content in wheat, drainage mapping, weed pressure mapping, and so on.

Importantly, IoT-based smart farming targets not only large-scale farming operations, but can also add value to growing trends in agriculture like organic farming, family farming, including breeding particular cattle and/or growing specific cultures, preservation of particular or high quality varieties etc., and enhance highly transparent farming to consumers, society and market consciousness.

Smart Farming, or the Future of Agriculture

Internet of food and farm 2020

If we have the Internet of Things and the Internet of Medical Things, why not have one for food? The European Commission project Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020), a part of Horizon 2020 Industrial Leadership, explores through research and regular conferences the potential of IoT technologies for the European food and farming industry.

It is believed that the potential of a smart web of sensors, actuators, cameras, robots, drones, and other connected devices brings an unprecedented level of control and automated decision-making and makes it possible to build a lasting innovative ecosystem.

Third Green Revolution

Smart Farming and IoT-driven agriculture pave the way for what can be called a Third Green Revolution.

Following the plant breeding and genetics revolutions, the Third Green Revolution is taking over the agriculture based upon the combined application of Information and Communication Technologies such as precision equipment, the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators, geo-positioning systems, Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones), robotics, etc.

In the future depicted by this revolution, pesticide and fertilizer use will drop while overall efficiency will be optimized. IoT technologies will enable better traceability of food which in turn will lead to increased food safety. It will also be beneficial for the environment, for example, through more efficient use of water, or optimization of treatments and inputs.

Therefore, Smart Farming has a real potential to deliver a more productive and sustainable agricultural production, based on a more precise and resource-efficient approach. New farms will finally realize the eternal dream of the mankind and feed our growing population that may reach 9.6 billion by 2050.

BOLD Awards 2020

Agritech – smart farming – is one of 12 categories in the BOLD Awards 2020. Other categories include AI, Robotics, Science, Advertising, Fintech and Marketplaces. The full list, and the place to submit an entry in any of the categories, is here. After a round of public voting and assessment by a panel of international judges, category winners will receive their award at a prestigious black-tie ceremony on March 27th 2020 in Venice, Italy. Entries can be submitted now and up to December 31.

Article credit: written by Sciforce, a Ukraine-based IT company specialized in development of software solutions based on science-driven information technologies #AI #ML #IoT #NLP #Healthcare #DevOps

BOLD Use of AI is Powering Breakthroughs in Many Sectors and Markets

BOLD use of AI is powering breakthroughs in many sectors and markets

Debates on the benefits of and threats from artificial intelligence are moving on. Projections of mass unemployment due to the loss of routine work are becoming more balanced by realisations that maybe 65% of children in primary school today are going to have jobs that don’t exist yet! 

The roles of Governments are being seen less as subsidising declining business sectors and mass unemployment and more as preparing and retraining people with new skills to implement breakthroughs in all sectors of industry and services. The reduction of drudgery in the workplace allows the integration of AI with HI – combining it with human intelligence to develop a hybrid augmented intelligence and release a tidal wave of human creativity and innovation.

The more predictable areas where AI is going to make a swift difference is anything that involves scrutiny of a mass of information. In some aspects of this, the ability to identify patterns, trends or links among the mass of so much data that is available these days is becoming beyond the scope of individual humans. We’ll look at some examples of this, and also take a look at a more humanitarian example where AI is beginning to make a positive difference in areas that were once thought to rely on the “human touch.”

The future of work

Perhaps the first thing to do, though, is to educate tomorrow’s workforce about AI. Career opportunities are being created everywhere in new tech and multi-disciplinary hybrid AI. As an example, Canada’s need for qualified AI workers is growing exponentially, and most of the country’s educational institutions are struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving market.

The Canadian government has part-funded the AI Pathways talent development programme to inform and educate Canada’s youth about the learning pathways and career strategies that are available to them. Much of this is done by encouraging them to provide AI-based solutions to open innovation challenges posted by the Agorize platform relating to three core sectors of Sustainability, Work and Education, and Social Equality. 

Fintech/Proptech

The use of AI by Fintech startups is disrupting the financial services sector almost beyond recognition. Major consumer brands that have taken hundreds of years to establish their reputation are being eclipsed by a whole number of new kids on the block.

One vulnerable finance sector is mortgage loans for people to buy homes. The UK’s £270bn mortgage market is still heavily dominated by the “big six” consumer banks. In 2018 they accounted for nearly 70% of all mortgage lending, though mortgage decisions can still take weeks to process and cause some fallout due to deals and buying-chains that collapse in that time.

Startup M:QUBE plans to use AI to shake up the UK home loans market from early 2020 by using artificial intelligence to extract data about borrowers more quickly, and from more sources, than conventional lenders and the credit agencies they use. Co-founders Stuart Cheetham and Richard Fitch have already raised a £5m seed round of investment from institutional backers.

DigitalStreet is a service being pioneered by the UK’s HM Land Registry that holds the records of all property ownership in the country. They are using Al to provide a comprehensive service to homebuyers and the professional advisors they turn to. Many people find moving home a daunting process. DigitalStreet claims over 50% of UK homebuyers in 2018 were ill through stress and damaged relationships with their partners. There are plenty of pain points to help people navigate.

Early in the moving process DigitalStreet will be able to address a number of important issues, particularly when people are moving to a new area they are unfamiliar with. Maybe the movers want to maintain a lifestyle, and require the locations of gyms and fitness centres, theatres, galleries, cinemas or sports clubs. Perhaps they want to check environmental issues such as local air pollution levels; the level of participation in community matters and activities; maybe they have personal safety concerns and want to know about crime statistics; or the cost and reliability of public transport to commute to their workplace. This will all be sourced through AI to be available from a single provider.

Healthtech

According to figures from technology investment company Atomico, healthtech is the third most dominant industry in European technology, with around $2.6bn invested in 2018, up from $1.6bn in 2017.

Healx, is a UK startup co-founded by one of the inventors of Viagra. It has raised $56m in Series B funding to expand the rollout of its artificial intelligence technology that hunts for new treatments for rare diseases by making predictions about how those diseases might respond to drugs that already exist. 

Image source: Healx

Historically, literature reviews are a critical part of the scientific process. By reading as much of the available literature as possible, researchers may reach conclusions that are more reliable than those from individual studies. There is a risk of missing something relevant if a topic is not well-studied, or, conversely, being utterly overwhelmed by the number of potentially relevant studies if a topic is well-studied. AI can help to solve this problem because computers can sort through science papers much more quickly.

In a test, a manual search and an AI search for articles relevant to a particular skin condition produced similar results, with a 77% duplication of articles found by both methods. However, the manual search took a researcher four hours a week for four months, and the AI search was completed in three hours.  

Legaltech

In October 2019,  Authenticity.AI, a US global leader in AI solutions for legal and compliance industries, announced the launch of an automated court transcription service. By using AI and natural language processing (NLP), the application analyses the sounds captured by digital court recording software and transcribes them from audio or video to court formatting approved transcript files. 

This brings immense cost and time savings to a historically labour-intensive process, and also allows court reporters to review, modify and approve their final transcripts for accuracy before publishing them. 

AI for social service provision

Since 2012, StreetLink has run a UK nationwide system to provide members of the public with a way to notify local authorities when they see a rough sleeper so that support teams can be alerted. But there’s frequently a recurring problem of incomplete information that makes it hard to locate each rough sleeper, and on average only one-in-seven are found by response teams.

Homeless in London, UK. Image credit: Tom Parsons 

By using information from past decisions, data scientists have created a machine learning model to automatically categorise alerts, giving StreetLink an immediate ability to prioritise them. With rough sleeping in London currently hitting record highs, the AI-based solution will be implemented for the first time during the coming winter months.

BOLD Awards 2020

All of these startups would make strong claim in the BOLD Awards AI category. Or maybe you have worked on an alternative AI-based initiative that promises to make an outstanding breakthrough. 

Entries are currently open to 31 December 2019. After a January round of public voting followed by an assessment by a panel of international judges, the final black-tie award ceremony takes place 27 March 2020 on the campus of H-Farm, a major startup accelerator and digital educator, near Venice in Italy. Make your entry here, if you think you’re BOLD enough.

Main image source: Authenticity.AI

Fintech Startups Disrupt Market Leaders with AI

Artificial intelligence is fundamentally changing the way that the consumer and small business financial system works. In the last few years, large investment banks have hired artificial intelligence specialists from the world of academia and put them in charge of their AI divisions. Fintech start-ups have begun using machine-learning algorithms to model credit ratings and detect fraud, and hedge funds and high-frequency traders are using AI to make investment decisions.

Most legacy banks have a fixed model of providing a free basic consumer banking service to their customers, and then charging disproportionately for additional services. Many services were developed pre-digital, and bank customers had to accept a slow pace and high costs. Digital technology has been introduced where it can be to improve efficiency, but they essentially remain analogue-designed processes.

Against this backdrop, Fintech startups tend to focus on one specific financial facility and develop a better and faster service at lower cost to the user. With better and automated examination of more databases they are able to accept more people as customers, maintain a lower default rate, and achieve a higher repeat rate. 

Several fintech startups were pitching to potential investors at the recent NOAH Conference in London UK, and a cross-section of them demonstrate the array of services they hope to steal away from the traditional providers.

Vetting for Home Tenancy Agreements

Virtually anyone who has rented a home has gone through the process of being vetted by a credit rating agency. In the UK, banks reject 50% of loan applications simply because there is not enough data available on the applicant to make a robust decision. And a refusal is itself a black mark on a person’s already weak credit rating, generally leading to higher interest rates charged by future lenders. So the process helps no-one.

The team at the Risk42 startup based in Hamburg, Germany, is led by founder Roberto Valerio. They previously specialised in fraud prevention and detection, and analysed over 700,000 loan applications. Using many additional data sources that the ‘regular’ credit agencies don’t think to consider they have been able to give a valid appraisal of 90% of applicants.

Risk42 raised seed funding in September 2018 and is currently raising a second round of investment finance.

Turnover-based Business Lending

After the financial crash of 2008, banks everywhere became more selective over who they lend to. Startups were starved of cash, and the growth of equity crowdfunding since then has been a market response. Though company founders are not always happy or willing to dilute their own shareholding.

Berlin-based ConsciousGrowth started just seven months ago under founder Sebastien Nienbaber. Startups that are already trading can apply to share a percentage of their future revenue in exchange for up-front working capital.

ConsciousGrowth uses AI to consider a wider range of variables in deciding to make business loans. By providing marketing and revenue data alongside basic business information, a business can receive funding in as little as two days.

Unlike equity crowdfunding it doesn’t cost business owners any equity; they do not have to give personal guarantees that a bank would require; and unlike VC funding they are not obliged to accept a stranger on their board of directors. Monthly cash flows can fluctuate, which is why repayments scale up or down from one month to the next in line with net revenue.

Small Business Loans

Led by Founder and CEO Jens Woloszczak who was previously a Senior Consultant at McKinsey & Co., Spotcap developed an in-house credit risk algorithm to provide flexible and accessible loans to small businesses.

It launched in Spain in September 2014 before expanding to the Netherlands and Australia in 2015, the UK in 2016 and New Zealand in 2017.

They are beginning to find that numerous banks and other lending institutions want to work with them to provide their own SME clients with an efficient and straightforward lending experience. Research shows 81% of banks believe the way to adopt digitisation is to partner with new generation providers like Spotcap and many other fintech startups.

Three More In Brief…………..

London-based Fluency is a startup crypto bank. Mainstream banks won’t hold cryptocurrencies and cash transfers from them to buy a cryptocurrency can take 3-8 days and cost up to 15% in fees, says Co-Founder Inga Mullins. Fluency’s cash transfers to buy crypto are instant, deposits are free, and there’s zero withdrawal cost. Crypto-fiat exchange is free up to £5,000 month. Like many fintech startups, Fluency provides a better service faster and cheaper than legacy providers. Fluency has just started a round of seed funding in U.S. and U.K.

Nemuru is a Barcelona-based startup in Spain that provides on-the-spot personal loans in three minutes at the point-of-sale for buyers of high ticket items costing up to €20,000. Their AI-based credit checking is faster and more accurate, and can accept more shoppers than traditional credit agencies can assess. They have over 300 store-owner users. Nemuru initially partnered with BBVA and BancoSabadell (two of the biggest Spanish banks) for funding operations and have so far raised €2 million from local VCs. Nemuru is enjoying an average 70% monthly growth and plans to expand to Colombia and Mexico.

flatfair is a fintech/proptech startup based in London. There is a vast level of distrust between landlords and tenants over deposits – and getting them back at the end of a property rental. Tenants join flatfair as a member for a cost equivalent to one week of their rental agreement, and can use a card rather than cash to pay a deposit. flatfair also runs credit checks for the landlord that are better at determining risk levels through using AI to assess additional data collection points. Clients include several major UK letting companies. 

BOLD Awards 2020

Any of these startups are BOLD enough to enter the Fintech category, which is one of 12 categories in the BOLD Awards 2020. Other categories include AI, Robotics, Science, Advertising and Marketplaces. The full list, and the place to submit an entry, is here. After a round of public voting and assessment by a panel of international judges, category winners will receive their award at a prestigious black-tie ceremony on March 27th 2020 in Venice, Italy.

Being BOLD to Save the Planet

Being BOLD to Save the Planet

There’s a new generation of BOLD entrepreneurs stepping forward. They see themselves as change-makers, activists building businesses to save the planet. Like Greta Thunberg, they recognise that time is running out. Annoyed by what they see as ‘corporate inertia’, they’re creating breakthrough ‘change-maker business’.

These change-makers are part of the Sharing Economy, but not the Sharing Economy as we know it.  Until now, the phenomenon which has garnered much media attention since its birth a decade ago has focussed on peer-to-peer, technology driven, VC backed start-ups, but this new breed of ‘changepreneurs’ are not only commercially savvy, but hell bent on delivering social and environmental value too. They know that the companies of the future are those who can become activists and change-makers themselves.

Take Ruth Anslow, co-founder of Brighton-based rebel supermarket HISBE (How It Should Be) in the UK.  Together with her sister Amy and Jack Simmonds they’re reinventing the supermarket experience. “We’ve built an alternative supermarket model through collaboration and caring. We got fed up with the way supermarkets do business, it has a negative effect on people, communities and local economies. We’re about keeping profits in communities and in the hands of the producers”.

Being BOLD to Save the Planet
Ruth and Amy Anslow, founders of HISBE rebel supermarket

For these changepreneneurs, commercial success only follows social and environmental wins. HISBE broke even in a record-breaking twelve months, six months ahead of their targets. The founders believe this financial success is down to their values and approach.

“We help a lot of small suppliers get going, we share the profit with them, so out of every pound that gets spent in HISBE, 68p goes to suppliers. The equivalent figure in supermarkets is 9p. If they’re given the right price and the right conditions, they can make the products that contribute to a better food system.”

The real key to their success is the philosophy that lies at the heart of changepreneurship – the contribution they make to the industry as a whole. ‘Our big vision is to transform the food industry by reinventing the way supermarkets do business”. This, they believe is the biggest lesson for corporations: focus on creating value for the wider sector and society at large and you’ll win.

Ruth Anslow is one of 200 change-makers I interviewed for my ground-breaking visual book Generation Share. Generation Share is the world’s largest collection of stories of change-makers building a caring, sharing economy; it’s the result of a three-year collaboration with photographer with purpose, Sophie Sheinwald, to bring these positive stories of change-makers to worldwide attention. It comes from a realisation that to change the world, we need to change the narrative and give life and prominence to these positive stories of breakthroughs.

Being BOLD to Save the Planet
Malik Yakitini, founder of Detroit Black Food Security Network and D-Town Farm (US)

29-year-old Daan Wedderpohl from Amsterdam embodies what it means to be a breakthrough change-maker. When his house burned to the ground, he lost his home, his belongings and his job, which proved to be the catalyst for creating goods-sharing platform Peerby, because, he says “the stuff we consume is the biggest contributor to our environmental footprint.”

His bold approach permeates his business approach. “The ultimate goal is that consumer goods will never be designed for one person, but for a community and if goods can be passed from person to person, then the manufacturers will have to create a business model for sustainability, reparability and reuse.”

Being BOLD to Save the Planet
Digital equality campaigner, Nanjira Sambuli (Kenya)

So how can you unleash the change-maker in your business and help power breakthroughs for people and planet?’ First, answer these three all important questions.

  1. What actions are you as a company taking to immediately and directly address climate change?
  2. How are you as a company currently contributing to the wider sustainability of your sector?
  3. What can you do now to put the sharing of resources at the heart of your business model?

With over £3.5 trillion worth of idle resources and enough surplus food to feed 10 billion people worldwide, the true power of the Sharing Economy is becoming evident with activist entrepreneurs like Dan Wedderpohl and Ruth Anslow demonstrating how positive changepreneurship can make a difference.  And, with time not on our side, it’s time to unleash the change-maker in all businesses.

About the author: Benita Matofska is an international speaker, working with businesses to become change-makers. She’s the founder of charity The People Who Share, a global Sharing Economy expert and author of Generation Share: The change-makers building the Sharing Economy, published by Policy Press for Global Sharing Week, June 2019.

Image credits: Sophie Sheinwald

BOLD Awards 2020

These changepreneurs are definitely BOLD. Are you? Have you been working on a BOLD challenge or a project that represents a real breakthrough with potential to transform a sector or a market? Let us know, entries for the BOLD Awards are open now until December 31 in 12 categories, just click here. You could find yourself at the black-tie awards ceremony in Venice, Italy, on March 27, 2020.

BOLD Developments in Agritech

BOLD Developments in Agritech

Projections show that feeding an estimated world population of 9.1 billion people in 2050 will require raising overall food production by some 70% from 2005/07 levels, reported the High Level Expert Forum – How to Feed the World in 2050

This prompts an imminent need to maximize the food supply through both traditional field production and new farming techniques. Many farmers use a high degree of hard-earned individual experience on which to make judgement calls on how to grow adequate amounts of crops in a financially viable manner. New technology is improving this by collecting the sum total of farmers’ decisions; matching them to a database of their unique climate, soil, crop and topography circumstances; and making the end results generally available to other farmers, government agencies and commercial suppliers.

Here are insights into three different ways in which technology is being used for the benefit of food production, and thus for the benefit of all of us.

A government-led initiative

In South America, Colombian farmers in the mainly maize-growing region of Cordoba increasingly found their livelihoods at risk due to the growing unpredictability of weather patterns. The government collaborated with the National Cereals and Legumes Federation (FENALCE) and big data scientists at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to use data crowdsourced from many farmers. Across a four year period those farmers became more efficient and productive.

BOLD Developments in Agritech
A weather station used to capture information for data-driven farming in Colombia

The farmers who had immediately started to follow new guidelines found their maize yields  increased from 3.5 tons to 6.0 tons per hectare. They were also able to reduce their fertilizer costs and the negative impact of heavy rainfall, including valuable topsoil being washed away.

The livelihoods of farmers’ families, and food security for the wider population,  were improved without major infrastructure expenditures. Wider data collection through apps used by the farmers, ground-level sensors and drone and satellite technology can continue to support further improvements.

Now that the government has led the way, Daniel Jiménez, a data scientist at CIAT at the time, looks forward to when the private sector gets more involved to develop sustainable systems to capture, analyse and distribute information to help farmers manage their crops and resources better. A full case study is here.

An expanding commercial venture

An example where commercial enterprise is involved is the Greek agritech startup Augmenta, which earlier this month received €2.5m backing from two VC funds. It has developed smart robotic hardware that can provide the information to ultimately deliver significant cost savings and performance improvements for farmers.

Augmenta’s hardware can be mounted to a tractor, spreader or sprayer and collects vital data as each farmer goes about their normal work. There’s little extra for them to do other than plug it in and switch it on.

BOLD Developments in Agritech
An Augmenta data capture unit mounted on a tractor

After two years of testing prototypes, Augmenta’s co-founders George Varvarelis and Dimitri Evangelopoulos received seed funding in July 2018 from Athens-based Marathon Venture Capital. With it, they built their first 20 units with a camera to collect visual information and sensors that detect fungus in the crops and monitor fertilizer levels. All the data for each individual field is stored on a web platform to which participating farmers have unlimited access.

They have shown that access to their data can increase crop yields by up to 12%, reduce fertilizer costs up to 15%, and improve product quality by up to 20%. The latest investment in October 2019 from a San Francisco-based VC fund will fund expansion in North and South America beyond the eight countries where Augmenta is already being used.

Alternative farming technology is developing globally

Vertical farming involves food production in indoor facilities where crops are grown in a controlled environment on a series of levels. It is at an exciting stage of development that is attracting entrepreneur startups and investment from major corporates. 

Bloomberg estimates the sector will be globally worth $5.8bn by 2022, with Asia-Pacific (APAC) expected to have the largest share of the vertical farming market by then owing to population growth and limited fertile agriculture land. There are numerous farms in Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and other such technologically-advanced countries which is driving the market in the region. Japan is one of the key countries in which over 150 plant factories are equipped in operational form with artificial lights.

Ocado is a market-leading online grocer and food home-delivery company in the UK. It has invested £17m in a joint Venture called Infinite Acres with a Dutch industrial systems provider and US vertical farming firm 80 Acres. It also has a 58% stake in Europe’s largest vertical farming operation, Jones Food Company based in Scunthorpe, UK.

BOLD Developments in Agritech
Basil growing in a vertical farm in a polytunnel

Still at a startup stage, Shockingly Fresh in Scotland, UK, is currently seeking funding to develop five vertical farming centres using special hydroponic towers to grow multiple crop cycles. A key point of difference is that they will grow their produce in semi-climate-controlled polytunnels rather than inside buildings under expensive lighting. Ultimately they plan to have dozens of sites, capable of growing up to five times the volume of vegetables as a traditional farm. Their aim is to compete for business at regular wholesale prices, director Garth Bryans told us, rather than target the premium grocery sector.

BOLD Awards 2020 has a new Agritech category, and you can take part in a number of ways.

  • Entries in any of the 12 categories can be can be submitted here.
  • In January there will be a round of online public voting that you can take part in, followed by an assessment by a panel of international judges to determine the winners.
  • There will be a black-tie award ceremony on 27th March 2020 in Venice, Italy, and you can apply here to request an invitation to attend. 

The Next BOLD Step in Business Audio? Ask the Crowd!

The Next Step in Business Audio? Ask the Crowd!

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, co-founders of Barefoot Wines and co-authors of the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand.

When humans listen to a story something amazing happens. Each individual in a crowd reaches into their own personal memories to create and complete the scenes in which the action takes place. In other words, they source the props from their own mental inventory. When this happens, they tag the story to be more easily recalled. Why? Because they had something to do with its telling. They were interacting by embellishing the scenes with their imagination, they were involved in a process of co-creation.

Pre-literate indigenous people would hand down their history and the principles they had learned  about survival, the environment, medicine, and even virtues through story. Fast forward 8,000 years, we are rediscovering the power of story to convey principles. We, the audience, hear the story and draw out the take-aways, principles, and lessons. Through using our imagination to complete the scenes, and even identify with the characters, we can recall and use the lessons in our own businesses and life! This is a type of experiential learning.

Prescriptive Text

Without story, business books, especially, can seem one dimensional, prescriptive, and even patronizing. The principles are all laid out for you in a logical construct-like outline. “Here are the 3 things to do, the 5 things never to do, and the 15 things your customer wants from you.” Even if the points are made using examples, the mind glazes over by the end of chapter two. And the retention and application of the principles being shared is questionable.

With the renaissance of story, we are reconnecting with what our ancient ancestors instinctively knew all along: if you want your listeners to remember and use the message, wrap a convincing story around it with compelling characters overcoming challenges using the principles you wish to convey.

Audio Tech History

Forty years ago, all the cars came with audio cassette players. So did most portable radios. It seemed like everybody had a Walkman. You see, back then people appreciated the freedom of audio recordings. They could drive or jog and still listen to a book or a lecture on their favorite topics. We would listen and learn on our way to another city, hoping that some of the lessons learned along the way would stick. We hoped to employ them at the upcoming business meeting. The cassettes were very helpful in our business.

So, fast forward again to the present and we are enjoying the evolution of audio to MP3 as a learning tool. Unlike video, it does not immobilize our mobile devices. Radio-like interviews for iPods evolved into podcasts. Podcasts became wildly popular. What’s not to like? They are informative, in relative short formats, and they are almost always free!  At the same time, paper books became eBooks, and eBooks became audiobooks, all conveniently downloadable and digital.

Now What?

About a year ago, we asked our crowd, “What’s the next step in business audio books?” The answers we got were surprising.  They wanted more story and less prescription. They wanted to be able to draw their own conclusions. They wanted several short stories all linked together with principles demonstrated by action. Due to the increasing popularity of dramatized fiction, they wanted to hear non-fiction dramatized as well.

The Next Step in Business Audio? Ask the Crowd!And so we thought about the radio theater of the 1940’s with actors playing roles in skits. We thought about NPR’s “Theater of the Mind,” and we even thought about A Prairie Home Companion, all dramatized audio productions presented in a theatrical format. Why couldn’t we do this with a business audio book? And why couldn’t we use our own book as a guinea pig?

Next thing you know, we’re off to Hollywood! We partnered with an acting ensemble, converted our New York Times bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, into audio script, and invested in some serious studio time and a whole lot of editing. We wanted to produce what we think is the BOLD next step in business audio books. We call it, “Business Audio Theater.” After a year of hard work, we are happy to announce our true story of how we built America’s #1 wine brand was released in this new business theater audiobook format on September 12th at the CSW Global 2019 conference in San Francisco!

Open Innovation Helps Power Business Breakthroughs and Identify Bold Talent

Open Innovation Helps Power Business Breakthroughs and Identify Bold Talent

Agorize began as a French-based open innovation challenge platform that connects businesses and innovators from all over the world. Since it started in 2010 it has hosted over 200 challenges, connected with five million innovators from 185 countries, and earlier this year it attracted €13 million in VC funding. We thought it was time to take a closer look at them.

Company background

Open Innovation Helps Power Business Breakthroughs and Identify Bold TalentThe platform already has an international presence with offices in Paris, Stuttgart in Germany, Montreal (in French-speaking Canada) and San Francisco in North America, and Hong Kong and Tokyo in Asia. The new funding will allow Agorize to expand in these markets through plans to hire between 75 and 120 employees by the end of the year in sales, marketing, customer support, as well as developers and community managers. Charles Thou, co-founder and CEO, predicts that “In the next 5 years, we will only make around 10 or 20% of our turnover in France.”

Agorize works with a roster of many global corporations who have identified open innovation challenges as both a very effective way to keep their fingers on the pulse of innovation and breakthroughs, and to effect introductions to tomorrow’s top talent. The impressive list includes Microsoft, AWS, Google, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, LVMH, Publicis, HSBC, CBC/Radio-Canada, TD Insurance, Oxford Properties, National Bank of Canada, Desjardins, Bank of America, Citi Group, HP, IBM, Bank of the West, and Capgemini.

Newcomers are regularly surprised by the high quality of the challenges. The range of ideas and innovations they find are way beyond the possible scope of in-house R&D teams, who can sometimes develop a restrictive ‘corporate mindset’ of “I know what was well received last time, I won’t go too far from that again this time.”

Benefits for challenge sponsors

Multinational corporations often have little contact with student and startup innovators. These types of people are also increasingly keen to develop their own businesses in order to make their individual mark on the world rather than join the ranks of corporate employees.

Open Innovation Helps Power Business Breakthroughs and Identify Bold Talent
Managing Partner of Agorize North America, Aurelie Wen

Through the process of sponsoring open innovation challenges, Agorize introduces corporate businesses to students in any particular fields of study to identify and potentially recruit self-identifying top talent; to cutting-edge startups who have already decided where to look for niche opportunities to make a breakthrough; and to digital native app designers who can accelerate the creation of innovative concepts.

Agorize can also create challenges for a company’s existing employees. Working in multi-disciplinary project teams cuts through silo barriers, boosts morale, and unlocks latent enthusiasm and creativity, generating positive commitment with all its associated benefits.

Sponsoring a challenge on Agorize can also be considered as Marketing and HR activity. For example, the French firms Descartes Development, Air Liquide and Michelin combined to set a challenge related to sustainable cities. It highlighted to students and startups that these companies are active and have positive credentials in this sector, and through taking part, potential future recruits identified themselves to these three companies.

More details on this project and many others are available in Agorize’s Case Studies.

Benefits for students and startups

Agorize provides a full project ‘eco-system’ to tap in to and develop student and startup talent. Importantly, as a first stage, students and startup entrepreneurs can actually meet each other through the “matchmaker algorithm.” Each problem-solver registered in their network completes a profile so that they can be identified and notified about relevant challenges. On receiving notification, each individual can apply to join an existing team or create their own and recruit other problem-solvers to join them in addressing a particular challenge.

They work together in a dedicated online workspace provided by Agorize. This enables their collaboration to take place simply and in one location, accelerating iterations and breaking down geographical barriers.

Challenge sponsors can insert their own employees in to teams as a mentor to provide factual information and keep projects going in the right direction, whilst still allowing the free flow of ideas and creative innovation which are prerequisites to achieve breakthroughs.

Companies that set the challenges also contribute to a program of workshops, and help would-be problem-solvers with technical issues, legal matters, general business coaching and advice on how to navigate a development pathway.

At the tail end of challenges, an online voting system allows people in the network to see the proposals that were submitted and deliver their own verdict on which one they think is the winner. This openness encourages the spread and adoption of best practices, and also delivers peer group prestige.

Digital natives teach the C-Suite

As the first generation that has grown up with digital technology since they were young teenagers, Generation Z workers (born 1997-2000) have new perspectives on applying that technology – or even creating their own new tech – to tackle everything around them. It’s a mindset that’s alien to the generation that currently holds the reins of corporate control. Agorize organises hackathons for aspiring tech developers to bounce off each other and truly enlighten the C-Suite.

Prepare to Salute and Celebrate the BOLDest

Prepare to Salute and Celebrate the BOLDest

The 2020 BOLD Awards, created by Crowdsourcing Week, will build on 2019’s inaugural event to bring together the cream of the crowd economy sector to celebrate the achievements of some of its finest exponents and champions.

About the event

The black-tie Gala Dinner award ceremony represents the Oscars for industries such as the crowdsourcing, open innovation and related tech communities. 

As well as celebrating the breakthrough winners of 12 diverse categories it will be an evening of unparalleled top class industry networking.

If you’re here you will be alongside the industry’s finest.

2020’s glittering event will be held once again at the campus of H-Farm, the innovation platform that supports the creation of new business models and the digital transformation and education of young people and Italian companies. They are just outside Venice, Italy.

Prepare to Salute and Celebrate the BOLDestThe date to put in your diary is Friday March 27th when the evening will begin with a drinks reception, followed by a three-course meal and the annual BOLD Awards 2020 ceremony.

The Official Drink of BOLD Awards 2020 is Valdo Prosecco.

Entering the BOLD Awards

Entry submissions for the BOLD Awards 2020 are now open and the closing deadline for all entries is December 31, 2019. Entry is fee-based, currently it is just €7 though will rise in stages as we near the closing deadline.

After this deadline, a period of public voting will commence January 6th, 2020, followed by an assessment of the resulting shortlist of entries by an international panel of judges.

Entry in any of the 12 categories can be made here. In 2020 there are some new categories, including Boldest Travel Blogger/Influencer, Boldest Augmented & Virtual Reality, Boldest Marketplace and Boldest AgroTech.

How You Can Be Involved

Seats at BOLD Awards 2020 are going to be evenly divided between Nominees, Event Partners and Sponsors, Special Guests, and people who are BOLD enough to request an invitation to attend this unique event.

To start the process of attending as a Nominee, select a category here (though you may enter more than one) and begin your submission. Please ensure you check here the key criteria that will be used to assess each one.

Prepare to Salute and Celebrate the BOLDest

Prepare to Salute and Celebrate the BOLDest

If you’re bold enough to want a place at the crowdsourcing industry’s Oscars evening in the company of global sector leaders, then request an invitation. The attendance fee is €875.

BOLD Awards is aiming to engage more than 3,000 submissions from the public and private sector, with only the Top 50 being selected to join us in Venice, Italy, on March 27th 2020. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be BOLD, you can complete your details here -> http://bold-awards.com/submit-your-project.