Sep 20, 2023 - News

The Shift: Cartwheel starts software spinoff

Illustration of robot hands holding a clipboard.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Bentonville startup studio Cartwheel is building a new company from an AI software product designed to help food and beverage makers.

Driving the news: The company β€” Quantis β€” recently hired Cate Gutowski as CEO and will be basing its headquarters in Bentonville. Gutowski most recently was chief operating officer at publicly traded Primo Water of Tampa Bay, Florida.

  • With ties to the retail supply chain, logistics and the food industries, Stanley said NWA is a perfect location.

Why it matters: There are almost 40,000 food and beverage manufacturing plants in the U.S., alone.

  • The global beverage industry, the company's current focus, is valued at about $240 billion, Stanley told Worth. It's projected to reach $284 billion by 2026.

How it works: Quantis' software, PocketFactory, pulls disparate data from various machines within a plant (think, bottle-maker to bottle-filler), analyzes it and uses AI learning to predict more efficient ways to perform maintenance and avoid downtime.

Context: A startup studio like Cartwheel usually begins by identifying a commercial need, then employees vet the concept, test its potential as a product and develop the skeleton of a company.

Backstory: In this case, Strategic Systems International (SSI) of Chicago developed the software, then its chairman tapped Cartwheel to build a company focused on its use in food and beverage industries, Stanley told Worth.

  • The software-as-a-service product is already generating revenue and is in use at about 20 beverage plants, mostly within the Coca-Cola family of products and mostly in Europe.

SSI provided the startup capital for Quantis, but won't say how much.

What's next: About 10 jobs will be located in NWA in the next year or so, with hiring beginning in the next 30 days.

  • A chief financial officer is high on the list, Stanley said.

🍻The Shift is a regular feature to catch up quick on what's happening in Arkansas' economy and entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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