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Descartes Labs raises $30 million to create a data refinery of the physical world

Descartes Labs, a satellite data analytics startup based out Santa Fe, USA has announced that it has raised $30 million in a series B round led by LA-based March Capital. You might remember about Descartes Labs from its prediction of corn production in the US.

Building a data refinery for satellite industry

The funding will allow Descartes Labs to build what it calls a “data refinery” for the physical world – processing petabytes of satellite imagery to provide actionable insights to companies.

Data Refinery – Descartes Labs

Descartes labs started out focusing on the agriculture industry but they are certainly looking to expand into other industries i.e. shipping & logistics, forestry, energy infrastructure, and human activity. Their announcement about the funding round on Medium is full of interesting details about their vision (Read: Announcing our $30M Series B).

The first version of the data refinery – The Descartes Labs Platform is available now for beta testing.

Interesting times for the satellite industry! Curious to see the next big product launch from Descartes labs! Best wishes guys 🙂

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Foursquare says its location data can predict Amazon, Walmart’s next acquisition

The battle of the biggest shopping haven in the United States is hotting up with both Amazon and Walmart on a buying spree of late. Each behemoth has stepped out of its traditional forte to make inroads into the other’s specialty zone. While e-commerce giant Amazon has scooped up Whole Foods, brick-and-mortar retailer Walmart has bought online platforms Jet and Bonobos. And now, location intelligence firm Foursquare has come out with a list of companies it believes would be next on Amazon and Walmart’s ‘takeover list’.

What Foursquare did is analyze the foot traffic data it had gathered from more than 2.5 million Americans between January 2016 and June 2017. “Our location-based apps Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm help us understand trends and notable societal shifts,” CEO Jeff Glueck said in a blog post. “Our analysis is driven by the unique perspective we have based on our location intelligence and our understanding of how people move through more than 105M locations around the globe.”

Based on this analysis, here’s what Foursquare came up with:

Why are Amazon and Walmart interested in Nordstrom?

According to Foursquare data, the people who shop at Nordstrom are almost twice as likely to shop at Whole Foods than an average shopper. Therefore, a Nordstrom chain owned by Amazon would deepen the latter’s association with its mounting customer base.

On the other hand, acquiring Nordstrom would give Walmart a whole new bunch of millennial shoppers, something the retailer direly needs. Foursquare has observed that those who shop at Nordstrom are 55% less likely to shop at Walmart, on an average. Capturing this segment would help Walmart to give greater competition to Amazon.

What about Warby Parker?

A majority of Warby Parker shoppers also frequent luxury brands like Bloomingdales, Williams Sonoma, and Lululemon, according to Foursquare. They also shop at Whole Foods (80% of them, in fact). This acquisition would again strengthen Amazon’s relationship with its shoppers.

Similarly, 55% of Warby Parker’s consumer base consists of millennials. It’s a segment that Walmart just cannot ignore.

And the others?

Lowe’s is favorite with consumers as opposed to professional contractors, and it would give Amazon a solid foothold in the home improvement section. An acquisition of the fast-growing company would allow Amazon to slash prices and cut into rival Home Depot’s market share of 55%.

As far as Walmart’s interest in Ulta Beauty is concerned, Foursquare data shows that one-half of Ulta shoppers are more likely to go to a Walmart than the shoppers of other brands like Sephora. The other half would be new shoppers. So, for Walmart, this would be the best of two worlds!

“Of course, this is all speculation, supported by our data on foot traffic patterns (we know that foot traffic is just one indicator used to determine acquisition targets). But inevitably, both will acquire other interesting brands in the future,” Glueck said. “Before we have that next announcement to dissect, hope you enjoyed our target practice.”

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