Pharmacy giant Chemist Warehouse is piloting machine learning software from New Zealand startup Insite AI to support its buying and planning decisions around the biggest area of its business, vitamins and non-prescription medicines.

Insite AI also announced today it has raised $1.8 million pre-seed funding led by Goat Ventures, an early stage VC firm.

The cash will be used to further develop its SaaS AI application as well as as well as building out its business operations with a focus on expansion and growth into the US, European and Asian markets.

Insite AI, which has spun out of Goat Ventures, offers a machine learning solution to aid supply chain decisions, essentially helping retailers move away from making buying decisions based on gut feel or manual processes.

According to the official spiel, Insite AI analyses retailers’ supply chain data as well as external data (i.e. weather, demographics, competitors) and text and imagery pulled from social media, product reviews, videos and more to make recommendations about merchandising, planning and buying.

“Since we started, Chemist Warehouse has strived to remain at the forefront of innovation. Artificial intelligence is one such innovation that is quickly becoming a crucial ingredient in anticipating customer needs,” Damien Gance, Group Commercial Manager at Chemist Warehouse.

“We’re excited to embed Insite AI’s solution within our business to support our buying and planning activities. Embracing new ideas and innovation acts to further distinguish us from competitors and helps us to ensure we always have the best products at the best price. We are always looking to do all that we can to meet all our customers’ needs.”

PwC is the exclusive distributor and seller of the start-up’s platform across Australia.

Launched in June 2018, the startup is actively hiring additional artificial intelligence PhDs and retail experts at a global level and plans to open an office in the United States by mid-2019.

The funding round is led by Goat Ventures. Other early backers during the pre-seed round include the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), Sir David Levene’s investment company Lewis Holdings, and other undisclosed super angels.

“We believe this sophisticated yet easy-to-use AI solution will help large retailers generate seven to ten figures. This capital injection and our collaboration with PwC Australia will help make that vision a reality,” said Shaveer Mirpuri, CEO of Goat Ventures and chairperson of Insite AI.

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