Relex Solutions (Relex), a platform that helps retailers optimize their businesses by forecasting demand, automating stock replenishment, and more, has raised a whopping $200 million from Menlo Park-based private equity firm TCV.
Neither Relex nor TCV disclosed the startup’s valuation following this round.
Founded in 2005, Relex integrates with businesses’ existing systems and processes to ensure they’re making the most profitable use of their retail spaces, which includes determining appropriate levels of staff and stock. For example, Relex leverages machine learning to crunch data provided by airports to help retailers inside terminals forecast footfall. And it can automatically reorder the right quantity of goods to minimize fresh product waste and ensure customers aren’t met with out-of-stock signs.
Prior to now, Relex had raised around $22 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase data, most of which came via an investment round back in 2015 that was led by Boston’s Summit Partners to spearhead the company’s push into North America.
For Relex, TCV is a major coup, given the caliber of technology companies the firm has backed in its nearly 25-year history: Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Zillow, Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Twilio, to name just a handful. That TCV has elected to go it alone on such a substantial funding round is notable, and this is also the first investment from the new TCV X fund, which recently closed at a hefty $3 billion.
“We seek to partner with businesses and management teams that are poised to grow to dominate global markets in their sectors,” said TCV general partner John Doran. “We are impressed by Relex’s modern, highly flexible, and cloud-based software, as well as its exceptional data processing performance.”
Automation is increasingly infiltrating the retail sphere, with the likes of Microsoft and Kroger recently announcing their own data-driven grocery stores, while Amazon, Alibaba, and countless fledgling startups are seeking to streamline the retail experience by meshing sensors, algorithms, and connectivity. Behind the scenes, warehouse automation is also key for retailers, further demonstrating the role big data and artificial intelligence are starting to play in commerce.
With an extra $200 million in the bank, Relex will push to “change the world of retail planning” by orchestrating a “more unified planning process,” according to CEO Mikko Kärkkäinen. “We are already off to a good start — now we will increase our speed by accelerating our product development ambitions, hiring more tech talent, and investing further into the development of our organization, as well as further expanding our retail-specific machine learning and AI capabilities that complement our core data processing platform.”