Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week: Parsable

Parsable empowers industrial frontline workers with digital tools to improve productivity, quality, safety and sustainability. The cloud-based mobile first app is device agnostic: it works with any type of smart phone, smart watch or tablet. Its platform, Connected Worker, is being used by companies in the manufacturing, energy, consumer packaged goods, chemical, aerospace, industrial equipment, automotive and packaging sectors.

“A lot of technology is aimed at the 20% of the work force that sits behind a desk but 80% of the work is being done by frontline workers. It is a community that has been overlooked,” says Lawrence Whittle, CEO of the San Francisco-based scale-up. The company, which has raised $133 million in venture capital, has customers in 70 countries and has developed over 300 uses cases in 18 languages. Customers include beverage makers Heineken and Suntory, global baked goods company Grupo Bimbo, energy company Shell, German chemical and consumer goods company Henkel and automotive parts manufacturer AAM.

Clients can use Parsable’s Connected Worker to turns binders full of paper-based work instructions and manuals into digital workflows that can be easily updated. Once the tacit knowledge of experienced employees and information locked in paper is digitized, the system becomes dynamic and can easily adapt as things change. Once they are assigned a safety code, workers can download the app, log into the company’s platform and see exactly where the last shift left off, what’s needed for the job and what to do next. They can also collaborate in real-time on the factory floor. Data about the activity of human workers is collected and analyzed by machine learning to improve future productivity and quality. An added benefit of the platform is that it helps companies with their sustainability goals by digitally tracking waste and energy consumption. Corporates are increasingly focusing on ESGs (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals so “for some customers the derivative benefit becomes the driver,” Whittle says.

The platform also “drives engagement on the frontlines and breaks down the barriers of communication at the company level, contributing to worker happiness,” he says.

That’s not all. Parsable’s Connected Worker standardizes employee competency, helps with the sharing of best practice at company level and can be used to reskill or upskill workers who currently work at jobs that are likely to be automated, says Whittle.

Competitors include  Contextere, a member of The World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators community. The Canadian startup, which was featured as a startup of the week in The Innovator in 2020, uses machine learning and industrial data to give front line workers AI-enabled work instructions in real-time, with the aim of helping large corporates increase safety and efficiency while decreasing equipment downtime.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.