The luxury and broader consumer goods industry are increasingly changing their approach and mindset, incorporating digitalization into their long-term strategies to align with consumer demand and new regulatory requirements. This increased pace puts huge pressure on decision-makers to focus on scaling growth as well as finding operations and capital efficiencies. In other words, there’s an urgent need to rethink operational processes.
Over the past few years, luxury and fashion retailer’s demand for predictive decision making platforms significantly rose. While a few players tried to tackle the issues associated within the market, many were too complex and did not address the market needs.
To streamline these processes, the industry needs more predictive decision making platforms that are intuitive and user-friendly. That's why our Saas & Infra team are excited to announce our investment in Autone, an end-to-end operational decision platform for the luxury and broader consumer goods industry. Before diving into Autone, let’s explore the space they operate in a bit more.
Every quarter, retailers go through the process of determining how much of their surviving stock to discount and how much of their inventory to postpone for subsequent seasons. As easy as the exercise sounds, it is anything but.
One of the biggest challenges in this industry involves the processes around deciding where, when, and how to manage operations around inventory, re-purchasing, and pricing. Here’s an example.
In the past, a spring collection would be shown in September, arrive in stores around March and be followed by questionably timed and priced markdowns. To optimize for time, each operational team often ignored internal and external forward-looking data regarding demand, pricing, or both.
Another problem is that retailers rarely double as technology companies. Hence it is particularly hard for them to adapt to complex and unfamiliar platforms, forcing them to fall back onto Microsoft Excel, building out large macros for each department. These are then shared across operational teams via email. The processes are long, fragmented, error prone, and each team has to decrypt what the previous encoded.
In recent years, the demand for a solution to these complex processes has led to some movement and investment in this space. Most startups that have sprouted in the last few years have had a more vertical approach to the aforementioned pain points.
That said, there are relatively few players focussing on operational management connectivity. When Peak, a decisions intelligence platform received its $75M investment from Softbank’s Vision Fund in 2021, this suggested that there is a relatively low number of successful players in the market. Meaning that there is still significant space for new players to capture the market.
As forward-thinking investors, unlocking connectivity is always top of mind. We know how important it is for businesses to have all of their operations in sync for them to scale more efficiently. With that in mind, we’ve kept our eyes open for an opportunity to meet this challenge head on. That’s why we’ve led an investment in Autone together with our friends from Seedcamp and with participation from angels, such as Jay Jopling (Founder of White Cube), and Thomas Rebaud (Founder of Meero).
Using their decisions platform, Autone is able to provide its clients with decision recommendations of their inventory, demand, supply planning, pricing elasticity, and analytics operations in a slick and collaborative manner.
Autone is built to optimize operational management, which has already led to partnerships with some of the world's leading brands. Now, operational teams no longer need to decrypt other teams’ work and the average time to decision is reduced from taking weeks to just 10 minutes. Clients can also expect an increased ROI close to 20x.
Autone’s most important asset is none other than its founders, Adil Bouhdadi and Harry Cheslaw. They are the perfect mix of push and hustle. Together, they bring a combined 10 years of experience working directly with C-Level executives for luxury retailers, including LVMH and Kering.
If you want to learn more about Autone or check out their career opportunities, follow them on Linkedin.