Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tesco ex-CEO Keohane joins Cork retail tech start-up MarketHub

Former Tesco Ireland chief executive Tony Keohane
Former Tesco Ireland chief executive Tony Keohane

John Reynolds

Former Tesco Ireland chief executive Tony Keohane has joined fellow Corkman Roy Horgan's retail technology start-up MarketHub as it plans expansion into Europe.

Keohane - who recently left Tesco Ireland after almost 20 years at the company where he was both chairman and before that chief executive - has joined several other Irish former chief executives from the retail and technology sectors on the Cork-headquartered firm's advisory board.

It is his second board appointment after joining the board of Bord Bia, the State agency that promotes the sale of Irish food and drink both here and abroad. MartetHub is backed by Enterprise Ireland and a number of Irish, UK and European investors. It uses electronic shelf labels coupled with 'big data' analytics software to help small and medium-sized retailers to compete against online and larger competitors.

The data it collects helps each store tweak its pricing in real time and tailor it to suit their customer base, enabling them to increase sales and reduce food waste particularly in their baked goods, fruit and vegetables and dairy produce sections.

Its technology is currently being used in a number of Spar stores in the UK.

"In a convenience store for example, as much as 25pc of their in-store bakery produce might end up unsold and being wasted, and we have a proven solution that helps them reduce that. There's also data to show one in every three of their customers buys only one item, and we can help them address this and increase their sales," said Horgan.

Horgan is a serial entrepreneur with a food background. His family have been in the food supply business for over 40 years.

He previously co-founded Solarprint, a Dublin-based solar panel technology firm that completed an R&D project in partnership with Fiat for which it was selected in 2010, funded by the European Commission.

"Without having reams of data and people analysing sales in central offices it's tough for smaller retailers to compete against the large store chains," he added.

"MarketHub represents a concept of end to end joined up thinking that often is very difficult to achieve in large retail businesses given their size and complexity," Keohane said.

"The ability to analyse data and then present retailers with flags or alarms that tell them what to do is very exciting and it was this capability that got me interested in helping the company's development. Retailers now more than ever need to differentiate and evolve and its technology could become a key tool to help them do that."

Sunday Indo Business

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