Green.org sat down with Nick DeGiacomo, the founder and CEO of Bucephalus, to learn how their SaaS platform is making supply chains regional and sustainable.
Nick, thanks for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
My name is Nick DeGiacomo, I’m the founder and CEO of Bucephalus (Techstars NY22), a B2B SaaS platform that uses AI to help e-commerce brands and retailers answer the questions “how much inventory should I buy?”, “When?”, “Where to place it?”, “Am I ok?” so they can move products faster, cheaper, and more sustainably. As a former data science and supply chain leader at Amazon, I’m obsessed with data, AI, and their applications to the supply chain. However, while leading some COVID crisis response efforts at Amazon, I realized that most companies do not have access to the data, algorithms, or experience they need to operate and scale their business without wasted time, energy, and production.
That’s where Bucephalus comes in. We’re democratizing access to these tools to founders of all backgrounds so they can fight against the giants. Before Bucephalus and Amazon, I started my career as a Mechanical Engineer and Physicist. I worked at manufacturing plants, construction sites, and in a clean room researching Nanoscience and Graphene. Then, in 2020, I was tapped to work on Mike Bloombergs presidential campaign – one fascinating analysis was investigating the ROI of ads on issue topics like climate change. When I’m not running Bucephalus, I regularly lecture on data analytics, statistics/AI, and sustainability at Columbia, Cornell, or Bard College’s MBA program.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
Turn Bucephalus into a global trade platform to make supply chains more regional and sustainable.
Why do you think sustainability is such an important topic today?
To me, sustainability is ultimately about living in harmony within your broader community – whether at a local, regional, or global level. If everyone incorporated elements of sustainability into their practice, the world would be a better place. It’s better for the individual, but also for businesses. You can squeeze every nickel and dime out of your partners for short-term profit, but if you force them out of business, you’re ultimately putting yourself at risk. But sustainability is an important topic within supply chains because they are responsible for a significant amount of environmental and social impacts.
The way products are sourced, manufactured, transported, used (hopefully reused), returned or disposed of can have profound impacts on the planet and people’s lives. Consumers and stakeholders increasingly demand sustainable products and practices, and companies are recognizing the business benefits of sustainability, including cost savings, risk reduction, brand differentiation and loyalty. By making supply chains more traceable and transparent, we can help mitigate impacts to create a more equitable and resilient world. We can reduce carbon footprints, conserve natural resources, and support local economies. We can avoid labor abuses, and human rights violations, and promote more responsible water usage. We’re all in this together, and impact each other through complex webs of interactions. Supply chains are literally the visible web that connects a teenager in Columbus, Ohio to a woman in Shenzhen, China, to a man in Nigeria. I think that’s beautiful. That’s also why I’m so proud to work on Bucephalus.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
I believe we need to rearchitect our global supply chains to be more 1) regional and 2) sustainable. Regionalization is a response to the over-globalization and over-complication of production. What resulted from that was an enormously complex and fragile web. Traditional economics would highlight the benefits of this, mainly that countries and companies can specialize, resulting in lower costs. However, as China became more tightly integrated as the central node of these global webs, we lost resiliency and reliability.
Countries lost the ability to prototype or produce key components, putting additional security and self-sufficiency at risk. Just as importantly, local companies stopped even thinking about looking for local partners, and the ones that did have great difficulty. The second part key prediction is that supply chains will be more sustainable. We need our operations to be more traceable, and more transparent. Companies must think long-term about their triple bottom line of economic, environmental, and social impacts.
The bar is raised. But it’s also good business. Bucephalus is building a global trade platform. We will be well-positioned to usher in this new phase of globalization and the future. We want to shine a light on the dark parts of our global supply chains and increase transparency, track emissions, and improve efficiency. Bucephalus will allow customers to react to changing market, logistical, and environmental risks in real-time – reducing waste along the way.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
The average person can make a difference by researching the products they buy, where they’re made, and what they’re made of. They can buy more durable or reusable products and reduce waste. However, we’ve put too much emphasis on the individual. Private and public markets need to come together to bring real change.