Manchester’s Praetura Ventures invests £1.5m into neighbour Sparkbox

Manchester-based artificial intelligence startup Sparkbox has announced a £1.5m investment from fellow Manchester resident Praetura Ventures.

The funding will be used to double its team and increase the number of retailers it works with.

Sparkbox uses artificial intelligence and data to help retailers make choices that improve profitability and reduce waste. The company was founded in 2019 by Lindsay Fisher, Matthew Wong and Kevin Blackmore.

Fisher commented: “As a team of former retailers, we’ve seen first-hand how the retail industry is advancing in many areas but falling behind when it comes to making data-driven decisions. We know how much potential there is for AI and machine learning to improve profits and reduce waste in retail.

“We are thrilled to have Prateura join us on our mission to modernise merchandising and put data behind the important pricing and inventory decisions our users make every day.”

Sparkbox’s artificial intelligence is used by River Island and Matchesfashion. The company is a current member of Tech Nation’s Applied AI 3.0 cohort, winner of Fashion District’s Retail Innovation Challenge in 2019 and a graduate of the Google for Startups UK immersion program.

Colin Greene, operational partner at Praetura Ventures added: “Sparkbox’s approach to inventory optimisation has the power to bring about massive changes in fashion and home retail, which is clearly behind the times when it comes to technology adoption within merchandising.”