Harald Nitschinger, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Prewave, a data analytics startup specialising in the prediction of supply chain risks from social media data.
During the conversation, Harald shared his thoughts on being a wave ahead in supply chains, PhDs, commodity monitoring, rapid response, a different kind of culture and Elon Musk…
1. What is Prewave’s mission? What is your USP / point of differentiation (or greatest source of value)?
Prewave is on a customer centric mission. We are very focused on enabling our customers to be one step ahead of the wave in their supply chains – it’s in our name.
Our broader mission that
“we are pursuing is to make the supply chains of tomorrow more resilient and sustainable.”
We’re a university spinoff, and we’ve invested more than nine years of R&D in our product, which allows us to differentiate ourselves as a technology leader. We process very localised sources such as social media in more than 50 languages which helps our customers to stay up to date with their supply chains critical risks for as much as three month in advanced.
2. What have been the most significant decisions / milestones / innovations in the Prewave journey so far?
It was around 2014 when my Co-Founder Dr Lisa Smith led her PhD research focused on supply chains and sustainability risks. We then founded Prewave together as an academic prototype upon leaving the course in 2017.
At that point, we were covering two risk categories in two languages. Within the first year of Prewave, we were just 3 people , but we managed to expand the software to 50 languages and 100 risk categories. Our next milestone was in Summer 2018, where we onboarded some major customers, and then Volkswagen in 2020.
“Additionally, we have expanded our solutions into commodity monitoring and tier-n monitoring which is basically our response to issues that major industrial companies experience in their supply chains, not only from tier one suppliers, but entire commodities.”
3. What do you look for in the perfect customer?
We serve customers across the board across various industries but also of different company sizes. This can be from mid-market segments, all the way to large enterprises. What they all have in common is a degree of complexity and intransparency in their supply chains which could be, because they source certain materials globally or have a large number of suppliers.
A perfect customer for us is one that engages with us, where the relationship is characterized by co-development and a back and forth between both parties.
What do they look for in you?
I think our customers primarily look for an agile innovative solution provider who can react fast, realise, develop and iterate quickly, but can also lead them in the right direction.
One of Prewave’s core principles is being extremely fast and rapid in our development and release cycles, but also by taking on the role of being a thought leader and visionary. We try to solve problems for customers in ways they would not have envisaged at all possible. A feat that they have come expect from us , and we take it very seriously.
4. What are the foundations of a great team?
“I think what makes a great team, is always a combination of exceptional individual competence, but also a great diversity of backgrounds and skills.”
By bringing that together and pairing that with a what we like to call ‘no bullsh*t culture’, we can challenge each other. It’s how we like to work and it’s served us very well
5. As we emerge from COVID what will you be doing differently?
One thing that everybody’s doing differently is shifting meetings from in person to online. More broadly at Prewave, we have seen a shift in the requirements and problems our customers are facing.
“Pre-COVID, supply chain risk management was mainly about individual supplier risk, but now post COVID, our customers are facing entire commodity or segment risks. All of a sudden, semiconductors are no longer available and suppliers can no longer promise quantities.“
It’s not due to the individual failure, but rather due to overall patterns in commodities underlying that. Earlier this year, we embarked on shifting our product and we are still very much on that journey to cover those types of risks and not just individual supplier risks.
6. What is the vision for Prewave for the future and what will be most important to achieve it? What does great look like in five years?
Prewave’s big vision is to be the source of truth for global supply chain risk, not only for enterprises, but consumers as well.
Some of our customers are facing many developments on the legislative side such as supply chain acts, and consumer consciousness where consumers want to buy from companies that stand for sustainable practices, therefore we want to provide that source of truth for anyone.
We really see the potential for Prewave to be as ubiquitous as Microsoft Office, at least within the procurement and supply chain space.
7. How are you doing good for the planet?
This links to our vision of being the source of truth.
“Complex and intransparent supply chains are one of the main causes and underlying reasons for unsustainable business practices today. By solving that and making supply chains more transparent, this provides our customers with the ability to make them more sustainable.”
That is going to be in the long run a great positive contribution, not just for them, but for everybody on the planet.
INSTANT HARALD INSPIRATION
1. What is your favourite book or blog and why?
I’m a big fan of the YouTube channel ‘Asianometry’ which provides fantastic analysis on Asia-centric industries like semiconductors, batteries, etc.
For anything start-up related, I recommend Paul Graham’s essays.
2. Who is your favourite inspirational leader and why?
I would go with Elon Musk, for all the obvious reasons!
3. What is your favourite app (not your own) or piece of technology?
At Prewave, we are very interested in developments around artificial intelligence and the shifts that are happening around this type of technology. Previously there was specialised AI and then all of a sudden there is generalised AI where you can ask questions, and the answers of the AI are better than ever before.
4. What is your favourite cocktail?
A classic gin and tonic.
5. What’s your favourite way to celebrate a success?
A quiet, personal one with my family. A nice dinner that is all very relaxing.
1. Seeing ahead in your supply chain provides wonderous advantages
2. Risk doesn’t always lie in tier one suppliers
3. A perfect customer for us is one that engages, where the relationship is one of co-development and back and forth.
4. React fast and talk to your customers
5. Aim for transparency in your supply chain and be transparent with customers
Prewave is a data analytics startup specialising in the prediction of supply chain risks from social media data. It provides Supplier monitoring for purchasing, supply chain management and sustainability managers.
Prewave provides deep coverage on a global level by focusing on regional and local sources. They analyse texts in local languages to gain and deeper more accurate understanding. Using predictive analytics, Prewave reports on risk events before they happen.
Our industry is moving forward faster and faster, empowered by innovative, progressive digital procurement solutions created and led by inspiring teams. ProcureTechSTARS are the digital procurement company CEOs and Founders that are leading the change, they are entrepreneurs, engineers and architects collaborating to transform procurement and the enterprise. In an open conversation with these leaders Lance Younger will be discussing the highs and lows of building the future now, the challenges they’ve faced, their perspective on accelerators and hot topics, and what keeps getting them up in the morning (and keeps them up at night).