Aforza’s ground-breaking AI Cloud and mobile apps prove invaluable to customers
SMART Innovation helped Aforza:
- Build its in-house R&D capacity
- Attract top talent to grow its AI
- Successfully launch and integrate actionable intelligence into its cloud & mobile apps
- Be on course to create over 100 jobs
Aforza – the leading cloud and mobile solution specifically built for the consumer goods industry - is empowering businesses of all sizes to sell more and grow faster with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, thanks to the funding and support it received through the Welsh Government’s EU-funded SMART Innovation programme.
The company, which was founded in April 2019, chose to locate its research and development division in Wales, gaining access to Welsh universities and their pool of talented graduates. To date, it is the only independent software vendor writing scalable AI or machine learning algorithms for predictions in the Cloud for the consumer goods market.
Aforza has designed a refined predictive forecasting feature that allows a consumer goods sales representative (eg at BrewDog or Whyte & Mackay) to predict when a certain product in store is out of stock in their retailer’s bar or supermarket - much faster than relying on human recognition.
Aforza contacted the Welsh Government’s SMART Innovation programme in May 2019 after choosing Cardiff as its research and development headquarters, to access funding for a feasibility study and expertise to better understand how to leverage innovative technologies such as AI and machine learning.
It was SMART Innovation’s expertise in technology that was of particular significance, as the company looked to refine its predictive algorithms.
Aforza’s chief product officer and co-founder, Nick Eales, said: “AI has proven to be a very effective sales and marketing tool. Being able to go to customers and talk with credibility about our AI solution has been very useful. It has helped to paint us as a forward-thinking company.
“SMART helped us with tech that predicted when a store is going to place a new order and know exactly what they are going to order, predict what promotions would run well, and recommend when you should visit stores.
“Being out of stock was particularly relevant during periods of the Covid-19 pandemic. You saw all the toilet paper shortages. This was the type of thing AI could predict.
“You could say, ‘based on the current trends in the market, based on what we are seeing at other stores that are similar, in 10 days’ time, there’ll be no toilet roll on the shelves’.”
The SMART Innovation programme has enabled the company to reach the commercialisation stage, which has allowed them to roll out their Cloud and mobile technologies to 25+ customers in 20 different countries, across multiple continents.
The success of the business applications has enabled Aforza to grow significantly and create sustainable jobs. It now has its own dedicated AI development team led by engineers, four of whom were recruited because of the funding.
Aforza has grown from a team of three to over 75, and Mr Eales is confident that they will eventually be able to create over 100 jobs.
He added: “The support of the SMART team cannot be understated – the experts provide invaluable advice that has enabled us to not only survive but thrive during two very testing years.”