Elad Mardix is the CEO and co-founder of Clarifruit. Previously, he had a distinguished career working for J.P. Morgan in both New York and Hong Kong, where he ran J.P. Morgan’s Asia Technology investment banking franchise. As a senior tech banker, Mardix had the privilege of partnering with some of the world’s most brilliant tech entrepreneurs, taking innovative companies public, advising on transformational M&A transactions, and helping those entrepreneurs realize their dreams. In this interview, he talks about what Clarifruit does and what’s next for the startup.
E-3 Magazine: What does Clarifruit offer?
Elad Mardix: Clarifruit offers the world’s first AI-powered quality control SaaS platform for the fruit and vegetable industry. Leveraging big data and artificial intelligence, Clarifruit aims to add consistency, accuracy, and objectivity to fresh produce quality control (QC) processes for the entire supply chain ‒ from growers and marketing companies to wholesalers and retailers. The platform empowers these stakeholders with the data they need to make the right business decisions to reduce waste, maximize productivity, and truly level the playing field for fruit and vegetable quality control.
How does your solution work?
Mardix: With an understanding that the value of any data analytics output depends on the quality of the raw data input, we designed an end-to-end, automated fresh produce QC platform that comprises two key components – a mobile app for fresh produce quality inspectors and a management and analytics dashboard for QC or operations directors. The Clarifruit mobile app is free to download and is available for both iOS and Android devices. To use the app, inspectors need to simply take a photo of the fresh produce and our proprietary computer-vision and machine learning technology engine analyzes external attributes, including color, stem color, and size. In addition, our mobile app can also be easily integrated with third-party hardware to access internal attributes such as Brix from a refractometer, pH, and firmness from a durometer.
The Clarifruit management and analytics web-based dashboard gives QC or operations directors access to a real-time overview of every inspection, including the date and time, GPS location including mapping of all global operations, and user identification. The solution includes automated updates and notifications, which are configurable per business requirement. Most importantly, auto-generated reports, customizable according to customer specifications, are generated for each completed inspection. At any point, all information can be exported to Microsoft Excel for integration with other systems of record. As scalability and flexibility are key to the Clarifruit system, our big data and analytics platform is built for customization. This means that specific inspection processes for each unique setting can be defined, as well as multiple quality standards with their own external and internal attributes. Our big data library, which currently contains millions of photos and fresh produce attributes with similar characteristics, grows with every inspection performed to improve the accuracy of all automatic inspections. Analytics are run on all uploaded data as per customer-specific requests to connect all data points, and unique insights are derived to boost operational efficiency and maximize profitability.
Do customers need special technology or devices to use your solution?
Mardix: The typical customer implementation process involves the following steps: A 30-day free trial of the mobile app and the management dashboard that enables fresh produce stakeholders (growers, marketing companies, wholesalers, and retailers) to experience the magic of the platform and its ease-of-use. We usually recommend using this free trial at least 12 weeks before a fruit or vegetable season begins. The customer only needs a smartphone in order to perform a simple inspection. If customers want to also include internal attribute measurements as part of the inspection (e.g. Brix, firmness, etc.), third-party industry devices such as refractometers or durometers can be integrated to wirelessly transmit the data to the mobile app. Commercial deployment, which involves the implementation of the platform for all fresh produce categories and relevant sites, can be delivered shortly after trial completion.
Why did you start Clarifruit?
Mardix: Clarifruit’s story began when Avi Schwartzer, COO and co-founder, picked a bland clementine from a tree in his backyard and had a eureka moment that would lead him to co-found Clarifruit. Finding no data-driven tool on the market that could accurately perform QC of fruits and vegetables, he set about developing one himself. During his research, he discovered that the way fruit and vegetables are picked and evaluated has hardly changed in decades. While digital transformation is revolutionizing every industry under the sun, fruit and vegetable QC has been left in the shade. Clarifruit was founded to meet this challenge head on by revolutionizing the fresh produce supply chain from field to fork, bringing it into the digital age, and contributing to a world standard for fresh produce evaluation. Our mission is to generate favorable revenue opportunities for all stakeholders in the fresh produce supply chain and, in the process, to reduce global waste.
How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?
Mardix: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the shift to digital processes within the fresh produce supply chain. Clarifruit’s AI-powered QC platform has been instrumental in that process. Digitization of distribution and management of quality standards allows for efficient, timely and data-driven decision-making processes, resulting in fewer rejections and waste across the entire supply chain. Automation of data collection processes by inspectors results in a significantly faster inspection time, allowing our customers to better utilize their QC resources. And, last but not least, remote-enabled training of inspector staff and superior big data capabilities are used to govern QC processes in real time.
Can your solution be integrated with SAP systems?
Mardix: Clarifruit’s solution integrates with S/4 Hana to give growers, marketing companies, wholesalers, and retailers the high-quality data required to maximize profitability and reduce waste across the fresh produce supply chain.
How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?
Mardix: The SAP.io accelerator program has played an important role in our commercialization efforts. Partnering with one of the world’s largest ERP providers for the fresh produce supply chain not only validates the unique value proposition we offer our customers, but also simplifies the implementation process for them. We are confident that this partnership will lead to increased engagement with the enterprise segment of the fresh produce supply chain, which is a key step in standardizing the way fresh produce quality is evaluated.
What’s next for Clarifruit?
Mardix: Our vision is to set global standards for fresh produce quality. We intend to do so by creating the world’s largest digital quality standards marketplace. This, together with our automatic QC platform, can dramatically expand the trade opportunities for both suppliers and buyers across the supply chain.
Thank you for the interview.
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