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The first successful case of cooperation between business and startup in the corporate innovations

11/ 08/ 2021
  At the end of last year, the European Business Association together with the Ukrainian Startup Fund launched a new initiative – Corporate Innovation, which aims at introducing innovative developments from Ukrainian startups to business. The initiative has become a platform that helps businesses and startups find each other for mutual cooperation. The mechanism is as follows: corporations register on the Funds website where they outline their challenges and receive suggestions from startups that can address these issues.  Today we would like to present our first success within this initiative: it is the case of the chain of stores “Aurora” and the startup Checki. How did it start? Aurora is an all-Ukrainian chain of household goods stores with 650 retail locations. Like every retail player, this business is very sensitive to the sentiments of customers with whom it is in contact every day at the nationwide level. Every company positions itself as customer-oriented but making manifestos is just not enough. First of all, we need tools that can help put this into practice. One of the key locations in any store is still the cash register, where there is constant communication between customers and staff. We are fully aware that conflict situations can and are likely to arise in such places, so it is important to keep an eye on the pulse and respond to such things. It is important that the clients go from us in the same good mood as they come to us,” Auroras team comments on the challenges it faced. To address this and other related issues, the chain of stores has created its R&D department to identify and implement innovations in the business. One of the priority tasks was to find a solution that would automate the collection and quality control of customer experience. The Fund as the state initiative has been known to us for a long time, but we did not pay much attention to it, though we better should have done so. At the end of last year, we became interested in startups and watched Pitch Days, where we found several potential partners among startups, the developments of which captured our interest. Since then, the Fund has become a proven source of useful information for us,” a representative of the R&D team told the story of how they learned about the corporate innovation program. We consider such measures to be a catalyst for the development of Ukrainian business ideas. Upon the receipt of Aurora’s request, the Fund reviewed the compliance of the company with the requirements, analyzed the proposals from startups, and recommended the cooperation of the Checki team. I have been in control of cash transactions for more than five years, so I am familiar with many clients in the field of HoReCa and retail. During communication with them occasionally I heard about mystery shoppers who check the quality of service but realized that this method is expensive and inefficient. After a long search for an alternative in open sources, it turned out that the entrepreneur needs to assemble his own working model from different services, which are scattered in different places. This is irrational as a minimum,” said Oleksiy Ievlev, CEO Checki, about the history of his startup. This was the impetus for the implementation of the service, in which businesses do not need to spend time on complex and tedious things, namely listening to dialogues with customers. I immediately joined the community, which is creating an open data set to convert the Ukrainian speech to text. At that time, there was simply no such data available on the market. The results did not take long to come. Promptly Aurora got in touch with Checki through the Fund and agreed to launch a pilot. “Initially, I planned to set up the system, working with small clients, so that in the future it would be easier to pit large companies. But everything turned out the other way around and much better than expected, he added. The Solution The startup offered to install microphones in each cash area to collect voice information. Then the voice recordings are converted into text and then it is immediately followed by the search of keywords. As a result, it is possible to automatically monitor the execution of the sales script and the correctness of the statements. In addition, we also analyze and compare data from checks to establish patterns. This happens in parallel with the conversion of voice into text. We are now in the process of tuning in the equipment. Everything is happening very dynamically and there is definitely a demand for such technologies,” Oleksiy commented on the technical details. Auroras R&D department sees it as an ambitious project and, despite the technical challenges and capital intensity, considers the decision to be strategically advantageous. We have long felt the trend and prospects of using neural networks and expertise in working with voice streams. This is a future that has already come and the sooner we can use it in practice, the better,” they said. The most difficult issue has always been human capital to be able to implement all this in practice. The competitive advantage of such technologies is not even discussed. We are ready to invest in business development.  

At the end of last year, the European Business Association together with the Ukrainian Startup Fund launched a new initiative – “Corporate Innovation”, which aims at introducing innovative developments from Ukrainian startups to business. The initiative has become a platform that helps businesses and startups find each other for mutual cooperation. The mechanism is as follows: corporations register on the Fund’s website where they outline their challenges and receive suggestions from startups that can address these issues. 

Today we would like to present our first success within this initiative: it is the case of the chain of stores “Aurora” and the startup Checki.

How did it start?

Aurora is an all-Ukrainian chain of household goods stores with 650 retail locations. Like every retail player, this business is very sensitive to the sentiments of customers with whom it is in contact every day at the nationwide level. “Every company positions itself as customer-oriented but making manifestos is just not enough. First of all, we need tools that can help put this into practice. One of the key locations in any store is still the cash register, where there is constant communication between customers and staff. We are fully aware that conflict situations can and are likely to arise in such places, so it is important to keep an eye on the pulse and respond to such things. It is important that the clients go from us in the same good mood as they come to us,” Aurora’s team comments on the challenges it faced.

To address this and other related issues, the chain of stores has created its R&D department to identify and implement innovations in the business. One of the priority tasks was to find a solution that would automate the collection and quality control of customer experience. “The Fund as the state initiative has been known to us for a long time, but we did not pay much attention to it, though we better should have done so. At the end of last year, we became interested in startups and watched Pitch Days, where we found several potential partners among startups, the developments of which captured our interest. Since then, the Fund has become a proven source of useful information for us,” a representative of the R&D team told the story of how they learned about the corporate innovation program. “We consider such measures to be a catalyst for the development of Ukrainian business ideas.”

Upon the receipt of Aurora’s request, the Fund reviewed the compliance of the company with the requirements, analyzed the proposals from startups, and recommended the cooperation of the Checki team. “I have been in control of cash transactions for more than five years, so I am familiar with many clients in the field of HoReCa and retail. During communication with them occasionally I heard about mystery shoppers who check the quality of service but realized that this method is expensive and inefficient. After a long search for an alternative in open sources, it turned out that the entrepreneur needs to assemble his own working model from different services, which are scattered in different places. This is irrational as a minimum,” said Oleksiy Ievlev, CEO Checki, about the history of his startup. “This was the impetus for the implementation of the service, in which businesses do not need to spend time on complex and tedious things, namely listening to dialogues with customers. I immediately joined the community, which is creating an open data set to convert the Ukrainian speech to text. At that time, there was simply no such data available on the market. “

The results did not take long to come. Promptly “Aurora” got in touch with Checki through the Fund and agreed to launch a pilot. “Initially, I planned to set up the system, working with small clients, so that in the future it would be easier to pit large companies. But everything turned out the other way around and much better than expected,” he added.

The Solution

The startup offered to install microphones in each cash area to collect voice information. Then the voice recordings are converted into text and then it is immediately followed by the search of keywords. As a result, it is possible to automatically monitor the execution of the sales script and the correctness of the statements. “In addition, we also analyze and compare data from checks to establish patterns. This happens in parallel with the conversion of voice into text. We are now in the process of tuning in the equipment. Everything is happening very dynamically and there is definitely a demand for such technologies,” Oleksiy commented on the technical details.

Aurora’s R&D department sees it as an ambitious project and, despite the technical challenges and capital intensity, considers the decision to be strategically advantageous. “We have long felt the trend and prospects of using neural networks and expertise in working with voice streams. This is a future that has already come and the sooner we can use it in practice, the better,” they said. “The most difficult issue has always been human capital to be able to implement all this in practice. The competitive advantage of such technologies is not even discussed. We are ready to invest in business development. “

 

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