Flieber wants to help e-commerce retailers get back to what they do best: selling.
The New York-based company announced Wednesday $12 million in Series A financing to continue developing its inventory optimization platform that uses analytics and machine learning to give multi-channel brands a leg up when it comes to determining what the ideal stock level would be across all of the sales channels and inventory locations.
The investment was co-led by GGV Capital and Monashees to bring the company’s total funding to $20 million since CEO Fabricio Miranda co-founded Flieber in 2019 with CTO Jair Vercosa.
Miranda, who previously founded and sold a water treatment company in Brazil before coming to the U.S. and working at a hedge fund, told TechCrunch the company’s predictive platform puts users in the driver’s seat for sales, supply chain operations and inventory decisions so that they can keep up with the pace of sales so that they avoid having too much, or not enough, inventory.
It was while he was at the hedge fund that he met someone opening an Amazon store and became interested in the process so much that he left the hedge fund and became an Amazon seller. His business became one of the top sellers, he said, and he learned the dynamics of the business and online retailing. In the course of opening several other businesses to support online sellers, like an advertising platform and financing business, Flieber was created to help retailers understand their inventory.
“When you open a retail business, you like selling, but in the end, you wind up spending 80% of your time with operations,” Miranda said. “Selling is so easy now with the marketplaces, but everything in order to sell is still from the 1950s, so we started studying it.”
He explained that inventory optimization is different from inventory management. Optimization makes sure a retailer has the right inventory at any given time to sell what needs to be sold. The approach is intelligence for decision-making, automation and supply chain layers, essentially telling the retailer what is the next best action with regards to inventory. Inventory management, on the other hand, is knowing what a retailer has to-date to be able to sell.
One of the main problems retailers often face is being out of stock. If a retailer is always out of stock of popular items and overstocked on lesser selling items, the retailer is consistently losing out on sales of the popular item while tying up revenue in inventory that isn’t selling, Miranda added.
Flieber’s technology gathers data to predict, for example, which products sell in a certain quantity and alerts the retailer to place an order for new inventory by a certain date in order to be able to sell it four months from that date. It also monitors sales so if those are accelerating or slowing down, retailers will know to either speed up or slow down the manufacturing process or reduce the sales.
“We are all the time projecting what you need and when to launch a new product,” Miranda said. “If a retailer’s product is similar to another product, the system is also able to predict how well that similar product will sell.”
Miranda said no other company was solving inventory optimization with this approach, so the opportunity “is a blue ocean.” He also sees the online retail world consolidating and moving back to the offline world, and the days of being “an Amazon seller” will be no more as retailers will sell where the consumers are, which will make inventory more complex.
Since its launch, Flieber now has clients selling in 15 countries and more than 400,000 products running on its platform. It has processed more than 20 million sales orders, and its system currently makes over 500,000 calculations daily.
The new funding will go toward accelerating that growth, improving the company’s data, hiring more data scientists and engineers and expanding its APIs.
As part of the investment, Monashees will join GGV on the board of directors.
“Marketplaces and platforms have made selling products really easy,” said Carlo Dapuzzo, partner at Monashees, in a statement. “But everything that happens until you have the product in inventory ready to be sold is still extremely complex. Flieber’s mission to democratize that part of retail is a much needed step for the future of the retail industry.”