In an era where the touch of a button can summon products from half a world away, the complexities behind the seamless movement of goods often go unnoticed. Logistics companies are trying to become more efficient as they help retailers and manufacturers move large volumes of shipments by aircraft, trucks, trains and containerships around the globe. In these efforts, executives stated that they are exploring potential uses of generative AI to improve their cost structure and become more efficient.
Currently, logistics companies are testing AI tools for customer support, viewing it as an intuitive use for technology that comprehends questions in everyday language and promptly provides comprehensive responses. In the long term, they believe generative AI eventually may be used to enhance forecasting, procurement, inventory management and shipping decisions.
As these tools are being tested, the AI landscape is rapidly expanding around the globe with the recent announcements of new models being launched to market. This week, the UAE introduced Arabic large language model Jais, an open-source, bilingual model available for use by the world’s +400m Arabic speakers. Moreover, China's tech giants, Baidu and ByteDance, have rolled out their chatbots to the public after receiving regulatory approval on Thursday.
As international logistic players welcome this AI dawn, it's amusing to think: in a world where different language models converge, will they be the unsung heroes streamlining our global endeavors, or will we end up playing a cosmic game of "telephone" across continents?
Much more than a dream - The following essay provides context for FTC's perspective on Latin America and a link to Atlantico's must-read 2023 Latin America Digital Transformation Report. A huge high-five to Julio and the team for their comprehensive, nuanced analysis of the region and factors driving the opportunity set. Read more
Octane passes $3b in aggregate originations - In addition to that milestone, the company also saw considerable growth in its newer verticals. Octane grew originations in recreational vehicles (RVs) by 85% since the second half of 2022 and increased tractor and trailer originations by 112% year-over-year. Read more
BMO debuts virtual card mobile wallets with Mastercard and Extend - The collaboration lets BMO (Bank of Montreal) commercial bank customers in the U.S. and Canada create and push virtual cards to employees’ mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, letting them spend anywhere that accepts contactless payments. Read more
From Containers to Chatbots
Chatbots are trying to figure out where your shipments are - Logistics companies are looking at generative AI for use in customer support, but the technology carries risks in high-value, industrial supply chains. Read more
UAE launches Arabic large language model in Gulf push into generative AI - The large language model known as Jais is an open-source, bilingual model available for use by the world’s +400m Arabic speakers, built on a trove of Arabic and English-language data. Read more
China’s Baidu and ByteDance launch AI chatbots to public - Chinese technology groups Baidu and ByteDance launched their artificial intelligence chatbots to the public on Thursday after receiving regulatory approval from Beijing. Read more
Visa, Mastercard prepare to raise credit-card fees - The fee increases are scheduled to start in October and April, and could result in merchants paying an additional $502m annually, according to CMSPI, a consulting company that works with merchants. Increases in network fees will make up a little more than half of that revenue, CMSPI estimated. Read more
First bitcoin ETF could be coming soon as court rules in favor of Grayscale over SEC - The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has paved the way for bitcoin exchange-traded funds. On Tuesday, the court sided with Grayscale in a lawsuit against the SEC, which had denied the company’s application to convert the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust to an ETF. Read more
Trustly acquires French fintech startup SlimPay in €70m deal - Swedish payments firm Trustly has acquired the French recurring payments platform SlimPay as it continues its Europe-wide expansion. Trustly, which competes with card companies and digital rivals like PayPal, plans to use the deal to expand into repeating payments such as subscriptions or donations. Read more
Citadel vets 69,000 intern applicants to find next math geniuses - Math and coding are increasingly desired skillsets for staff at banks and investment firms around the world, but it’s particularly so at Griffin’s firms where quantitative researchers and engineers devise trading strategies and deploy algorithms to automate the process. Read more
Latin America’s foreign investment boom defies political turmoil - Investors committed $225b to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022, according to ECLAC, the UN’s economic agency for the region. That was 55% more than the previous year and comfortably surpassed the previous peak a decade earlier. Read more
Hallmark teams with Venmo to streamline cash gifting - The partnership lets consumers send money with Venmo with a physical card, eliminating concerns about lost cash or checks. Customers can choose a card for occasions like birthdays and weddings, scan a QR code inside, select the amount they want to give, and write a personalized message. Read more
Elon Musk’s X moves closer to crypto payments with new state license - Rhode Island’s regulators have granted X (Twitter) a currency transmitter license, marking a step forward for the company’s foray into the financial services sector. The license is legally required for companies conducting financial activities on behalf of users related to sending and receiving money — a definition that includes both fiat and crypto assets. Read more
Amazon, Shopify strike deal to open Amazon logistics to sellers - The two companies, which both sell e-commerce software and services to brands and merchants, say Amazon’s “Buy with Prime” will soon be among the tools available to Shopify’s merchants in the US. Under the deal, Shopify Payments will process the payments through the company’s checkout service. Read more
The ‘Fidelity mafia’ behind big crypto - Some of the most prominent players in the digital-assets industry cut their teeth at the same place: Fidelity Investments. While Fidelity is a cornerstone of the traditional financial system that the founders of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies intended to disrupt, the 77-year-old company became a bitcoin pioneer in 2014, launched its crypto business unit four years later, and built a deep talent pipeline for the industry along the way. Read more
High hopes, rocky realities: Europe’s new banks struggle to grow up - The big promise of new financial groups such as N26, Revolut and Monzo was that they would disrupt staid retail banking empires that took decades to build. But the funding bonanza has come to a stop as interest rates have risen and doubts about the business models of these “challenger” banks started to mount. Read more
Americans are bailing on their home insurance - Homeowners are increasingly forgoing home insurance, gambling that the likelihood of a disaster isn’t high enough to justify the cost of a policy. Some skipping insurance say they are doing so because they can no longer afford the rising premiums, while others, particularly among the wealthy, say they have enough money saved to rebuild or move elsewhere should their home be destroyed. Read more
Who wins when a bank fails? Wine guy Frank Martell - Frank Martell knew he had scored when he bought dozens of Bonds from Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank. Bond wine, that is, a hard-to-find Napa Valley cult favorite that goes for several hundred dollars a bottle. The Cabernet Sauvignons were part of two wine collections the government seized this year, one from SVB and one from First Republic, after the two California banks collapsed. Read more
U.S. tackles crypto tax mess - The Treasury Department proposed new rules last week with twin goals: making it harder for crypto investors to dodge income taxes when they sell digital assets, and simplifying complicated tax messes for people who are trying to follow the law. Read more
FirstMate - New York based platform that lets NFT creators build digital storefronts raised $3.8m in Seed funding led by Dragonfly Capital. Read more
Hyperproof - Washington based software as a service risk and compliance management company raised $40m in growth funding led by Riverwood Capital. Read more
Ivy - Berlin based open banking startup raised $20m in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures. Read more
Markato - Hong Kong based cross border marketplace for independent brands raised $5m in Seed funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Read more
Mediafly - Chicago based revenue enablement company raised $80m in growth funding led by BIP Ventures. Read more
MFast - Vietnam based financial services distribution network raised $6m in Series A funding led by Wavemaker Partners. Read more
OneID - London based provider of bank verified digital identification services raised £1m in new funding led by ACF Investors. Read more
Praso - Brazil based food purchasing platform for small retailers raised $9.3m in Series A funding led by Valor Capital Group and NFX. Read more
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