This content is the second installment in an interview series with the 2020 Target Tech Accelerator cohort. Participating companies are sharing, in their own words, details about their innovative companies. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Tech Program Management team.
Meet Smarter Sorting.
Tech: When meeting someone new, how do you explain what your company does?
Chris: Computers do not know what products are. They have no basis to understand what bleach is – to a retailer, regulator, or consumer. We create a Product Genome to define what a product is, then use that data to drive classification and decision making across the Supply Chain.
Tech: What makes you most excited about working with Target Accelerators?
Charlie: Unparalleled access to decision making process Target uses in the back of their stores and warehouses, as well as how product data is created to facilitate those decisions. Our specific interest is e-commerce – what makes a product sellable online? How is it transported? How is it returned?
Tech: How did you know when it was time to consider going through an accelerator experience?
Chris: We learned from our flagship customer how critical it is to have visibility into how things actually work for a retailer. Having that access at Target can take our product to the next level.
Tech: What has surprised you about yourself(ves) as your business has grown?
Charlie: How manual and repetitive the process is for retailers to create the data they need. Continuously surprised.
Tech: Who has been instrumental in supporting your idea and why?
Chris: Our customers: the largest retailer in Canada, a top-3 global retailer and US Ecology. We’ve found early movers who have a shared vision, which has allowed us to build things that are actually used.
Tech: As a business owner/founder, how are you functioning today that is different than how you were functioning 6 months ago?
Chris: COVID changed how retailers understand their problems. It highlighted the extreme amount of energy to get a product into the Supply Chain. Turns out, that’s something Smarter Sorting addresses specifically. I and we have gained focus.
Tech: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are navigating this current environment?
Charlie: 1) figure out how your product can help with the most current issue; 2) the current climate isn’t necessarily a reason to shutter your business. Disruptions are to the advantage of startups.
Tech: Where do you see yourself and your business 6 months from today?
Chris: Handling product classification and decision making for three more retailers and on our way to becoming the global leader.
Learn more about Smarter Sorting by visiting smartersorting.com.