Daily Markup #554: Movel AI improves navigational UX in robotics; 500 Global helps startups with ESG tools; RedDoorz bounces back from the pandemic

Credit: Movel AI

Robots moving with ease

  • The field of robotics is constantly evolving, and collaborations are an effective way to move the needle forward! 500-backed deeptech startup Movel AI partnered with Japan software company Kudan to improve the user experience of their robotic navigation solutions.
  • Simply put, Kudan’s Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) technology enables machines and devices to understand where they are, how they are moving and the structure of their environment.
  • Movel AI will leverage this technology to improve the accuracy of navigation by up to 2cm. What’s more, SLAM works both indoors and outdoors! With this, the company hopes to continue to help businesses reduce deployment time and cost.
  • According to the Movel AI team, its Seirios navigation system can be seamlessly deployed across robotic fleets and managed by even non-tech users.
  • Read the full announcement here.
Credit: 500 Global

The journey to long-term sustainability

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  • “There’s been an increased demand from investors who want to put money into products that have a positive social and environmental impact,” said 500 Global’s Head of ESG Tracy Barba. “And what’s happened is that it’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s an easy thing to market.”
  • So what is ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing and how is it different from impact investing? “Impact investing is about investing only in companies where the end-product has some kind of measurable, positive impact. For ESG, you invest in all types of companies and identify operational risks through environmental, social, and governance issues. We invest in all companies with the idea that if we help them to shape their policies and practices around hiring, around carbon footprint, that is what ESG is to us at 500,” Tracy explained.
  • For startups looking for support in this area, 500 Global has plenty of resources here. Tracy revealed that more portfolio companies are reaching out to ask for such tools now, to help figure out their carbon footprint, and so on.
  • With ESG frameworks being relatively new, what makes “good ESG” is still ambiguous. But 500 Global is here to help companies understand how to manage environmental footprints, how they can build diverse workforces, and more.
  • Listen to the full interview here.
Credit: RedDoorz

A triumphant rebound from the pandemic

  • It was 2019. 500-backed hospitality startup RedDoorz closed a total of US$115 million in two funding rounds and recorded a 4-5x growth in occupied room nights, with occupancy levels averaging 65-70% across some 1,500 hotels across Southeast Asia.
  • Then, COVID-19 struck. “In March [2020], the occupancy levels [at our hotels] dipped from 70% to 10% within 10 days. It was a dramatic drop,” recalled Founder & CEO Amit Saberwal.
  • The team jumped into action — managing costs, renegotiating contracts, downsizing, and shuttering operations in Thailand, where its presence was still new. They also started working on products they could monetize, such as fintech services, insurance products, and more.
  • It all paid off! The collective efforts resulted in a pickup in business by about 30%, with net revenue growing 8x in Q4 2021 from Q4 2019. What’s next? RedDoorz is now on track to break even by October this year in its core markets.
  • Read the full story on DealStreetAsia.

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