Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

An ethical future, powered by startups

Sarah Griffiths
Freelance Journalist

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Startups around the world are building businesses to help industries do what is right - from looking after the environment to using AI to improve medical diagnoses in developing countries. These members of the Oracle startup program are using technology to try to make the world a better place in medicine, manufacturing, and more.

Ethical raw materials

Whether we're buying an apple for lunch or an Apple computer, sustainability and ethics matter more and more to consumers. To address these concerns, cloud startup Circulor finds the weakest links in a supply chain.

This proves a complex task, especially for brands that make complicated products like automobiles, but the technology is already a hit with automotive companies. The startup specializes in tracking raw materials using blockchain and artificial intelligence to help businesses map even the most intricate supply chains. Circulor then provides ‘traceability-as-a-service’ to verify responsible sourcing, underpin effective recycling, and improve efficiency, meaning consumers can buy new products with confidence. 

Safer media for all ages 

Televindu gives people in care homes dementia and other cognitive impairments access to entertainment with 250 accessible videos. Plot twists and rapid conversation can make it difficult for those with cognitive issues to follow typical TV shows and movies, so Televindu develops programming with a slower pace, and it is already a hit in retirement homes in Denmark and Norway.

Meanwhile, BotSupply teamed up with Save the Children to combat digital-based sexual offenses by building a chatbot to detect and resolve the most common problems and requests. If a teenager discovers that someone has uploaded an image of them that they do not want online, the chatbot can guide them toward a solution like reporting the photo to the social media platform or setting up a meeting with a counselor. 

Greener fashion

When it comes to the fashion industry, green is the new black. Fashion houses are keen to embrace the public’s appetite for everything eco-friendly.

The blockchain-based supply chain transparency platform offered by retraced gives fashion brands a boost for their inventory efficiency and sustainability credentials. The German startup uses the Oracle Blockchain Platform to create a supply chain management tool, enabling companies to map and verify their data, including certified details about raw materials, textile manufacturers, fabric dyers, designers, craft people, factories, and sewers. As retraced gathers information, two things happen: brands can collect and analyze supply chain data, and a QR code is automatically generated, which consumers can scan to discover information about ethical sourcing and sustainability. 

With ethical business practices in mind and strong technology in place, retraced is scaling fast

Reducing waste

Reducing waste is an important part of tackling the climate crisis. Energy IoT platform Reengen helps by adapting legacy systems into cloud-connected systems to reduce energy bills up to 15%, lower carbon emissions, and improve living conditions. The Istanbul-based startup has cut 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide so far and counts IKEA, Vodafone, and Pepsi among its enterprise customers. 

Tracifier, another member of Oracle for Startups, is on a mission to reduce food waste. The blockchain-based traceability application is used for food and certificate verification, which saves companies money by reducing food fraud which can lead to food and financial waste.

“Blockchain allows for an accurate and transparent record of each of several certification processes making forgery nearly impossible,” said Mina Kordi, CEO and cofounder of the Hamburg-based startup. She added that the system can cut the time it takes to get certification of food products by 40%, helping increase revenue by a third. 

Quicker medical diagnostics

The pandemic shined a light on healthcare inequalities, and startups are using technology to improve medical diagnostic tools in developing countries. 

Developing countries have plenty of X-ray machines, but they don't always have enough specialized doctors to read the results, so NeuralMed has developed an AI and NLP platform to identify patients with life-threatening respiratory issues more quickly, and hospitals in Brazil have already noticed a reduction in time to treat the sickest patients. Six hospitals are now using the system.

Aindra Systems aims to use technology to lower India’s cervical cancer death rate. This is especially meaningful for rural areas, where there is often a shortage of specialists.

Aindra's AI-based computational pathology approach enables a test to be read at the same time it is taken - with telemedicine support from a pathologist - so screenings and treatment can be done remotely. Two thousand women have been screened since non-governmental organization clinics deployed the platform, and traditional follow-up readings by pathologists have validated the results. 

A cleaner world 

Half of all plastics – about 150 million tons worldwide every year – are used once and thrown away. Strong winds can carry plastics from landfills into the stormwater system, where rubbish gets carried into rivers and eventually the ocean. The ecological implications of plastic waste are profound, including clogged waterways and poisoned wildlife.  

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is using research, data, drones, and software created by Kinetica to assess the magnitude of the problem. The team used 2,000 annotations to describe various trash particles and trained a machine-learning algorithm to identify the type, quantity, and location of each particle of trash depicted in those 35,000 images. The analysis process was accelerated by the data analytics startup, which made it possible to create an enormous catalog of images. 

The work enabled the California water-quality watchdog to visualize each of the 35,000 images based on its geographical location and trash profile. This approach could lead to new methods to prevent and clean up waste in the Bay and beyond. 

Oceanworks is another startup intent on banishing plastic from the ocean. The online marketplace for recycled plastic materials and products has more than 100 customers and a supply capacity of more than 190,000 tons of ocean plastic a year from collection sites across six continents. Based in Los Angeles, the cloud startup runs a track-and-trace application to certify that the plastic that manufacturers source really is recycled ocean plastic so their customer base, which includes Fortune 500 companies, can prove their eco credentials. 

An ethical future, powered by technology

This is just a sample of the world-enhancing work being done by members of the Oracle startup program. These innovative entrepreneurs are intent on serving the underserved, battling the harmful effects of environmental pollution, and more. Is your startup creating a more ethical future for businesses? Take the next step toward making a global impact when you join Oracle for Startups

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