Software-as-a-service company Inspectorio recently secured $10 million in Series A funding, led by Techstars, an early investor in Uber and Twilio. Additionally, Target, tech-focused fund Matchstick Ventures and Ecolab, a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services also participated in the round.
Led by three brothers, Carlos, Fernando and Luis Moncayo, Inspectorio was launched two and a half years ago with the mission of bringing greater visibility to the quality and compliance process. Since then, the company has grown its team to more than 120 members from 11 different countries with presence in The United States, Vietnam, China and Belarus. The company has announced it will be opening another office in Europe in the coming weeks.
“I’ve known the Moncayo brothers for a few years now. They’re the type of entrepreneurs I dream of working with,” said Mark Solon, managing partner at Techstars. “They lead by example, aren’t afraid to do the hard work themselves, are maniacally focused on their customer’s experience, and are obsessed with solving a big problem—helping to bring 100 percent transparency and accountability to the retail industry’s supply chains.”
CEO Carlos Moncayo said the valuation is not just a validation of how the company’s predictive analytics is transforming quality inspections, but an endorsement of Inspectorio’s vision for even broader applications of the platform and the incredible dedication and work of the Inspectorio team.
At the outset, the founders, who previously operated a sourcing company for 15 years, were hoping to create a tool that would provide them with visibility into what was going on in each of the factories across six countries in which they operated. The result was a one-stop solution for everything from booking an inspection through executing corrective action plans. Very quickly after being tapped for the Target + Techstars Retail Accelerator program, the trio realized data analytics and machine learning could provide the opportunity to not only see what’s going on but to better anticipate problems.
“It’s about building a data company that becomes smarter over time. The power is the network platform where people can network with others on an industry basis not a company-specific basis,” Moncayo said. “Through that exposure and power of artificial intelligence, the vision started shaping up much broader to using an intelligent system that minimizes risk.”
For those clients that opt in, Inspectorio is able to create an anonymous data pool, which is fed through their algorithm to forecast potential issues they should be on the lookout for. This greatly increases the chances that defects will be noted and addressed, Moncayo said, because the process is no longer reliant on a single person.
“Right now, because it’s a manual process, the knowledge of potential risk is based on the knowledge of the inspector or quality personnel assigned to verify that product, so there are a lot of problems that are not identified,” he said.
Through Inspectorio’s platform, machine learning is used to evaluate the factory’s historical data as well as related information about the fabrics and other materials used for each product. “The benefit is that it’s less reliant on a particular person, and it crowdsources the knowledge of the network to recommend what needs to be verified,” he said.
Moncayo believes this is what has investors so excited, the ability to harness data and use it to create smarter supply chains. And it doesn’t just apply to quality inspections. He said the same concept can be used to bring visibility to a variety of processes. In October, Inspectorio will launch a sustainability platform to support brands as they attempt to adhere to industry-wide standards.
Sustainability efforts, like inspections, have been manual, time consuming and hard to manage. Through the platform, Inspectorio hopes to ease the process and foster transparency.
“There’s been a lot of development toward moving the sustainability approach from company specific to an industry-wide effort through industry-wide initiatives like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. The Higg Index creates the framework. What’s missing is the technology to really accelerate the impact of that,” Moncayo said.
Currently, brands and retailers have no visibility into what’s happening with factory self-assessments, he said, let alone insight into the need for corrective actions or common trends. Similar to the quality inspections platform, the new sustainability platform is designed to provide brands and retailers with a way to compare their experiences, anticipate challenges and improve processes.
Moncayo said the new platform shows the versatility of Inspectorio’s concept and the ways in which it can help the industry move past old processes that are holding it back.
“We need to move from slow and isolated supply chains to smart supply networks able to bring quality and compliance to a different level,” he said.