Why High Alpha Invested in Craft

by Seth Corder - Senior Associate

I am excited to announce that High Alpha has led the Series A of Craft, a San-Francisco based supply chain intelligence company. 

Supply chain management remains an under-invested and under-innovated category in enterprise software despite supply chains being the heart of a company’s operations. 

When done correctly, supply chain management provides a competitive advantage and can increase profitability. The results can be disastrous when supply chains are mismanaged. Not only can it impact the bottom line, but a company risks damage to their reputation, as well as potential supply chain disruption. Legacy solutions and new entrants in the market are not serving the needs of supply chain professionals.

Research shows 79 percent of companies with high-performing supply chains achieve revenue growth superior to the average within their industries. Conversely, just 8 percent of businesses with less capable supply chains report above-average growth. That figure highlights how critical the interrelations are between an enterprise and its supply chain.

Why then, do only 6 percent of organizations have full visibility across their supply chain?

Part of the problem is the size and complexity of modern supply chains. Businesses rarely publish data on their supply chains, but it’s safe to assume many larger companies have tens of thousands of suppliers. For example, Procter and Gamble states it has over 75,000 suppliers. Retailing giant Walmart counts over 100,000 suppliers. French oil company Total buys from over 150,000 suppliers.

Additionally, digital transformation has made the volume and variety of meaningful, available indicators have exploded. The sheer volume of data available has made it difficult to monitor and manage the risk of one vendor, let alone thousands. 

For the modern Chief Procurement Officer and related supply chain functions, continuously monitoring the health, performance, and compliance of suppliers is a crucial responsibility, along with recognizing potential problems early enough to avoid disruptions. 

Until now, though, advanced visibility into complex global supply chains has been challenging to achieve. Traditional data vendors have not modernized their data and delivery models, while supply chain software remains outdated with manual and offline workflows.

COVID-19 has further highlighted the need for comprehensive and reliable intelligence on all tiers of the supply chain. The pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, revealing unmanaged risks and hidden structural weaknesses across industries. 

Like so many supply chain professionals, we knew there had to be a better way. 

Craft Co-Founders Artem Litvinov and Ilya Levtov

The High Alpha team first met Ilya Levtov, CEO and Founder of Craft, at the beginning of April, just as we were all coming to grips with the pandemic. Ilya and Artem Litvinov founded Craft as an enterprise intelligence company but found product-market fit within a supply chain use case.  

Craft’s data platform aggregates, validates, and structures hard-to-obtain data from thousands of financial and alternative sources, surfacing previously hard to track signals on any company in the world. The resulting 360-degree view of target companies includes more than 300+ data points that are constantly refreshed using both Machine Learning and human validation. Craft’s openly accessible company profiles appear in 50 million organic search results and serve more than one million professionals per month.

Craft’s solution is differentiated due to its unique combination of a proprietary data platform, robust API, and an easy-to-use, cloud-based portal that seamlessly integrates into existing enterprise workflows.

In the first half of 2020, Craft’s revenues have grown nearly threefold, with Fortune 100 companies, government and military agencies, and SMEs among its multi-year clients. Craft helps these customers manage supply chain risk and turn their supply chain into a strategic profit center. 

We believe in backing people, not companies, and Ilya Levtov, a high-energy and dynamic founder, represents a large part of our investment thesis. Ilya’s family emigrated from Russia to England in 1980 in the middle of the Cold War. At the age of 11, Ilya moved as a transfer student to the Peabody Institute and continued to finish undergraduate studies at Columbia University and was a cellist at The Juilliard School. After working as an analyst at Goldman Sachs in London and completing an MBA at Stanford, Levtov got his first taste of Silicon Valley as a VC and then as an operator. 

After much deliberation and debate, we discovered Ilya and High Alpha have a shared vision of Craft’s role for supply chain professionals in a post-COVID world. We could not be more thrilled to lead Craft’s Series A and join them on the journey to redefine how supply chain risk is monitored and managed. We’re lucky to have some other great investors joining us, including Uncork Capital and Greycroft. 

Please reach out to me at seth@highalpha.com if you’re working on a supply chain idea or you’re interested in learning more about Craft.