Business Irish

Thursday 21 September 2017

Price is right for store tech entrepreneur

Horgan sells majority stake in shelf label startup to French giant, writes John Reynolds

Cork entrepreneur Roy Horgan has sold a majority stake in his retail technology startup MarketHub to €400m valued French electronic shelf labelling business SES-Imagotag, the world leader in electronic pricing labels. Photo: Bloomberg
Cork entrepreneur Roy Horgan has sold a majority stake in his retail technology startup MarketHub to €400m valued French electronic shelf labelling business SES-Imagotag, the world leader in electronic pricing labels. Photo: Bloomberg

John Reynolds

Cork entrepreneur Roy Horgan has sold a majority stake in his retail technology startup MarketHub to €400m valued French electronic shelf labelling business SES-Imagotag, the world leader in electronic pricing labels.

MarketHub's backers include former Tesco Ireland boss and fellow Corkman Tony Keohane, while Enterprise Ireland also supported the company.

It is believed to have taken investment of over €1m to date, including €500,000 from SES-Imagotag last July.

Neither side commented on the total amount SES invested to complete its acquisition of the stake.

MarketHub uses its electronic shelf labels, which work in conjunction with 'big data' retail analytics software called Pulse, to change the prices of food such as in-store bakery and dairy produce, fruit and vegetables in order to increase sales and reduce food waste.

It connects with the point-of-sale systems of major retailers and analyses buying trends in real time in order to predict sales.

By using the system, stores can increase sales by up to 2pc, reduce waste by up to 30pc and increase gross margin by up to 2pc, MarketHub claims, helping to give bricks-and-mortar retailers the same power to react immediately to sales trends and predictions as large online retailers.

The firm has done trials in Britain with Spar and Marks & Spencer, and its technology - which was developed in its Cork HQ by former Kerry Plc software developers Chris Quinn and Dan McSweeney - is installed in stores in the UK, Europe and the US.

It is also about to launch with a major retailer in Taiwan.

Horgan's family have been in the food business for over 40 years, owning Horgan's Delicatessen in Mitchelstown, while he previously co-founded Solarprint, a Dublin-based solar power technology company.

Fast-growing SES-Imagotag had sales of €176m last year, up 58pc on the previous year, and over 12,000 stores in 55 countries are using over 150m of its electronic shelf labels.

It has set a growth target of at least 30pc for the next two years, aiming for annual sales of €400m-500m by 2020.

SES-Imagotag CEO and chairman Thierry Gadou said: "SES is the world leader in the digitalisation of brick and mortar retail were we operate in over 14,000 stores in over 50 countries globally.

"What excited us about MarketHub both from a technology and team perspective is their deep understanding and focus on key issues in retail such as food waste and the pain retailers have in correctly analysing their sales, lost sales and margins more effectively which helps us clearly differentiate us from our competition."

Sunday Indo Business

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