On Thursday, November 3rd, Plug and Play Tech Center hosted its first Savannah Expo Day. Fittingly so, the event took place just off the Savannah River at the Kehoe Iron Works building, as large shipping containers made their way down the river.
If you haven’t been following along, the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play formed a partnership with the Savannah Economic Development Authority in Savannah in 2020 with a focus on fostering supply chain and logistics innovation here in the coastal empire. Given Savannah is the second-largest port on the East Coast, Plug and Play is on a mission to connect tech startups, potential funders, and corporations to fill gaps and find solutions at the Georgia Ports Authority, surrounding warehouses, and in transportation methods through technology. One way they are achieving this is through their startup accelerator program.
The event highlighted 12 companies that Plug and Play and the Savannah Logistics Innovation Center selected for the first Savannah-based accelerator program. The companies were chosen from a pool of global startups that competed in Plug Play’s Selection Day event, which took place on June 28, 2022. On Thursday, Expo Day brought together these startups with community partners and potential funders. During the event, founders and startup representatives pitched and provided updates on their businesses since starting the program.
In total, Batch 1 Savannah Expo Day saw over 120 attendees with 24 presenters, and 11 startup pitches. The event also featured a keynote address by Griff Lynch, Executive Director of the Georgia Ports Authority along with two panel discussions. One panel discussion featured Dr. Scott Ellis and Dr. Masoud Davari from Georgia Southern University, who spoke on the institution’s research initiatives around the subject. A second panel discussion featured Jesse Dillon of the Savannah Economic Development Authority and Jason Coley of Georgia Power who talked about why Savannah is the place to be for innovative supply chain and logistics companies.
Meet the Startups
Slip Dock pitched first on innovating the supply chain process with their innovative robots that allow for a 6-ton payload capacity that loads/unload a truck in <5 minutes, which is 10x faster than current processes at 85% lower cost. The process provides better safety for drivers and workers who no longer need to enter the docks, where many injuries can happen during the load/unload process.
Datch was up second with its Siri for work orders. According to Datch, one-third of front-line time is spent on inputting and processing information manually. Mckenzie found that 22% of that process can be eliminated with Datch, which allows workers to input data using voice technology. Once Datch receives the information, the AI tech inputs the data in the correct format and location across one or multiple platforms.
Tive allows for 24/7 shipment monitoring across all modes and supply chains. It’s an added service to their main services which includes allowing their customers to see the temperature gauge on products, get information on theft/tampering, see if products have gone off route, and monitor for drops and damages.
Splice has built the pipes that move data between systems. Splice closes the gaps in processes by creating a digital infrastructure for event-driven automation. Through a series of processes, they allow integrated container visibility through GPS tracking. Their import container notifications automatically ping customers when there have been changes in the container status. According to Splice, the technology automates export-receiving windows to improve supply chain and transportation costs.
Ride n Dock is a warehouse transportation method that helps workers move easily through a facility with the goal of saving companies thousands of dollars per year. Their smart docks for the transportation mechanism create a range of flexibility – the dock can expand and contract to accommodate multiple vehicles in a space. Another key feature is that Ride n Dock is designed to be safe for users while being monitored 24/7. Ride n Doc announced their intent to make Savannah their HQ in 2023 contingent on the success of their pilot program here.
Awake AI is an AI-enhanced digital platform connecting ship operators, ports and cargo owners. According to the company, their multimodal platform saves companies millions of dollars by integrating logistics communications between ships, the ports, and the cargo owners using machine learning for accurate predictions to help all parties make well-informed decisions.
Repowr is focused on the sharing economy as it relates to logistics. The company has created a collaborative logistics marketplace for B2B asset sharing. Their platform helps companies meet demand and limit idle time on equipment through the leasing of equipment from company to company.
Really Virtual, a virtual reality forklift training company, announced a pivot into focusing on meeting a talent shortage through their training with a focus on disenfranchised workers. Utilizing their VR forklift and software, their goal is to help new talent get prepared for the workforce by training them in virtual environments similar to the ones they will be working in. The software assesses an individual’s performance and provides them with a composite score. Really Virtual says their ultimate goal is to solve the people-centered problems for companies.
Casi gives companies the ability to communicate in real-time. Their slogan is “Don’t just manage hourly employees, collaborate with them!” Through their SaaS platform, customers can send out announcements to employees so that there is a seamless level of communication for the un-emailed personnel. The tool integrates with communication methods that employees typically use such as text messaging, popular messaging apps, and email.
Dray Alliance focuses on port and rail transportation with its drayage tech. Their shipper dashboard allows shippers to receive automated status notifications, real-time GPS tracking, and document management. The carrier app allows for quality lanes, easy booking, free QuickPay, and dedicated carrier support teams.
The event concluded with a fireside chat with EinRide. Founded 6 years ago, EinRide produces electric transport freights. Their autonomous trucks provide freight transportation that can be teleoperated by a human operator from hundreds of miles away. Their T-pod truck runs solely on batteries. The company cited the advantages of its truck: smaller vehicle yet an increased loading capacity without a driver’s cabin, greater flexibility, lower operating and production costs, and optimized energy consumption.