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Nestlé, investors and Leclerc put Alkemics in a pole position

One of the biggest obstacles for digitalisation projects of the grocery retail industry’s is without doubt the lack of product data quality in the systems. Addressing this issue, Alkemics is in a pole position for its planned market entries in ten European countries. The French collaboration platform aims to enter the German-speaking countries, the Nordics and Benelux.

Four facts make it likely, that Alkemics will be successful across Europe. Help comes from the world’s largest food manufacturer: Nestlé is very happily working with the Alkemics platform and now decided to roll it out into across 23 countries.

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Nestlé takes Alkemics into 23 countries 

Secondly, and the Nestlé decision might have helped here, Alkemics secured a second funding round. And it is significant: The innovative French platform secured 21 Mio. Euros. Highland Europe has joined the company’s investors, while Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance and Serena Capital have renewed their support. In 2016, they had already invested 20 Mio. Euros into Alkemics. The new funding seems reasonable: The success, Alkemics has in France and in the UK, can be repeated in other European countries, among them Europe’s largest economy: Germany.

But not only Nestlé and the investment money make Alkemics a company worth looking at more in detail: While other start-ups made the mistake to ignore the relevance of the industry’s standardisation bodies, the national and international GS1 organisations, Alkemics managed to win GS1 UK’s call for tender for a technology provider to base a new national GDSN data pool on in early 2018. GS1 UK calls its new platform ProductDNA. Alkemics won against the who-is-who of master data alignment solutions: 25 data platforms used to be in the race for the UK, among them Tesco-raised Brandbank which is now part of Nielsen UK. Now Tesco as well as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado work like most of the British grocery retailers on and their suppliers on Alkemics technology to share and manage product data and images.

GS1 UK selected Alkemics

Well-funded, accepted in the GS1 community and equipped with support of the world’s largest food manufacturer can make Alkemics CEO Antoine Durieux and his team look optimistically into the future. But there is a fourth reason which is maybe the most relevant why the European retail industry should have a look at Alkemics: It is the praise that the young company gets from the French retail groups such as Casino, Intermarché, Louis Delhaize and not a least E.Leclerc.

E.Lecerlc is not only the shooting star in the French market regarding food sales figures, it is also a complex organisation driven by multi-level decision making from independent shop owners with often more than one store, regional co-operatives to a nevertheless strong wholesale-organisation. With the complexity of a retail organisation also the challenge of managing product data grows significantly.

That Alkemics makes the multi-tier organisation E.Leclerc happy is very relevant when discussing the opportunities Alkemics has on the German market, in which similar to France the majority of the successful full-range retailers are based on independent shop owners and co-operative-style regional organisations: The complexity of a mulit-level organised Edeka Group as well as Rewe Group often clashed with the very centralised organisational thinking behind the products of software giants such as SAP or Oracle. Alkemics belongs to those companies which also understand the specifics of grocery retail groups in which the independent shop owner and the regional manager also have a saying.

If you get praise not only from French omnichannel-leader Casino and also from Intermarché, but from E.Leclerc, it is relevant. Michel-Edouard Leclerc himself, President of E.Leclerc, postet on LinkedIn in December last year: “Alkemics has understood the need for collaboration, centralisation and simplification in retail, and has truly contributed to the public good through their work. In 2019, all of E-Leclerc’s entities began using Alkemics to communicate with their suppliers (from SMEs to multinationals). Alkemics has become the indispensable platform for retail.”

Hubert Delahaye, CIO of E.Leclerc with Retail Optimiser’s Björn Weber on the Retail Technology Stage of this year’s EuroShop.

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Björn Weber

Björn Weber has been a journalist, analyst and consultant specialising in the retail and consumer goods industry for over 20 years. Prior to founding Fourspot, which is publishing The Retail Optimiser, Björn Weber headed the international analyst group LZ Retailytics. Previously, he was Research Director Retail Technology and Head of Planet Retail in Germany. Before that, Björn Weber was editor for IT & logistics topics at Lebensmittel Zeitung for eight years. Björn Weber is a member of the jury of the Retail Technology Award (Reta Europe) of the EHI. He is a regular speaker at events of the EHI, the NRF, industry media and the Consumer Goods Forum.

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