How Aerchain (procurement tech startup) from Beer Garage – AB inBev’s global accelerator program of 2020 expanded globally within 6 months of pilot
AB InBev operates across 10 countries in Africa and deals with thousands of suppliers generating approximately 1,00,000+ invoices a year. One of the key challenges in managing a massive network of this size is handling supplier invoices and processing them on time. From a supplier point, the visibility and timelines on payment of these invoices was a dark spot and in turn impacted the company’s net promoter score (NPS) with the suppliers. Keeping in mind all these challenges, the business decided to look for a solution which could pave the way for an end-to-end transformation of a Procure to Pay (PTP) process for Africa.
AB InBev Beer Garage APAC & Africa Hub started scouting for startups through its BudStart accelerator programme to find disruptive digital solutions for the PTP opportunity. The team validated the shortlisted startups with a quick Proof-of-Value, which progressed over a few weeks to build the pilot case. The objective was to build an E2E solution for creating a supplier portal for AB InBev suppliers to submit invoices, track POs, GRN & invoices, correct invoices, match the invoice with PO and then finally have the payment visibility. AB InBev also wanted to automate the complete invoice processing & payment process.
Among the startup applicants, AB InBev chose Aerchain as it provides an
AI-powered & user-friendly procurement platform
In the initial discussions, the Aerchain solution was limited to building a supplier portal. Through the BudStart Accelerator programme, the company was able to co-innovate with an add-on feature of an OCR and 3WM (Three Way Match) solution in addition to the supplier portal to add business value and increased the scope of the project from two countries to 10 countries in Africa. As part of the accelerator programme, Aerchain had access to AB InBev’s global mentors to co-build new capabilities to meet business requirements and gain access to new markets with their solution. Beer Garage helped Aerchain to strengthen its platform to support 6,000+ suppliers and 2 billion transactions yearly. Within 2 months of selection, Aerchain could build a full end-to-end supplier platform with fully automated invoice processing & has rolled out the platform in key markets in Africa in the last 6 months.
“Aerchain was a good example of how Beer Garage APAC & Africa Hub provides mentoring and scaling opportunities to startups we work with to drive business growth at speed within AB InBev,” says Pritam Dutta, Global Director, ZTech (Beer Garage APAC & Africa Hub), AB InBev
To streamline invoice management at AB InBev, Aerchain provides invoice automation with OCR & 3 Way Match powered by deep learning, delivering up to 50% efficiency gains while reducing the invoice processing cost by 70%. Aerchain Supplier Portal enables suppliers to create legally compliant electronic invoices in their country of origin, increases collaboration, gives all stakeholders the required visibility & transparency of all information. The portal is highly scalable with real-time dispute management feature, enhanced fraud detection, and reduction in manual overheads.
“AB InBev’s accelerator programme, BudStart, has been a boon for Aerchain & many other budding startups. They were very clear in their business objectives from Day 1 and it showed in their agile evaluation process, helping us close the contract in less than a month. After the contract, they have closely worked together with us to help us out with all resources and the mentorship required for a global deployment,” says Harsha Kadimisetty, CEO & Founder, Aerchain
To register for the BudStart Global Accelerator 2021 programme launch event on April 23, 2021 click here.
About Beer Garage
Beer Garage is one of the global innovation hubs at AB InBev. Bud Start is the flagship startup innovation programme hosted by AB InBev Beer Garage APAC & Africa Hub. Starting in 2019, the programme worked with 16+ startups since their inception. The aim of this team is to foster innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders like startups, SMEs, innovators, incubators, accelerators, academia and venture capitalists. The team works with business units to find novel solutions for their business problems by leveraging the vibrant Africa and APAC startup ecosystem.
Aerchain is an AI-powered SaaS platform revolutionising the Source-to-Pay operations for enterprises across industries by seamlessly connecting relevant stakeholders, improving visibility, and increasing efficiency while driving much-required hard cash savings.