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Weekly Insights Oct 14, 2016

Executive Summary

  • This week’s note “From the Desk of Deborah Weinswig” discusses the existence of “tech titans” and the characteristics that enable these companies to dominate their respective industries.
  • While much of the garment production process is automated, dexterous human hands are still superior to rigid robot arms when it comes to stitching together complex garments. But Seattle-based startup Sewbo has figured out how to have robots work with weak, flexible fabrics to successfully sew together a T-shirt by stiffening the fabric with a water-soluble thermoplastic.
  • French retailer Carrefour has partnered with a selection of startup companies to introduce three smartphone apps that can be used at its stores. The apps, to be tested in its French stores in October and November, are designed to increase supermarket checkout speeds by providing services such as digital queues.
  • Vietnamese startup Hiip uses social data and algorithms to provide analysis and recommendation services to brands regarding which social media influencers are right for them. Last week, the startup raised an undisclosed amount of preseed funding, which will be used to further develop the company’s product and to expand into other markets.

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