Supply chain failures, sustainability, data analytics & AI: Lisa Smith, co-founder and CEO of Prewave, an AI-based supply chain intelligence platform, in conversation with Krystle Lippert, Strategic Sales Manager at GrECo.

Lippert: You founded Prewave back in 2017 based on a prototype you developed as part of your PhD thesis at the Vienna University of Technology. How did it come about that you were already thinking about topics back then that are more topical than ever today? I’m thinking specifically of supply chain failures, sustainability, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Smith: As part of my research at the Vienna University of Technology, I realised that supply chain management faces big challenges to remain aware of what is happening with all suppliers. Risks but also disruptions like fire, human rights violations, or environmental pollution often go unrecognised.

Working on technically complex projects like natural language processing has shown that there are a variety of digital data sources that can help us gain insights into what is happening globally. This gave me the idea to use the newly acquired data to detect risk events in the supply chain and make predictions about future outcomes. I worked on this for five years for my dissertation, until I finally founded the company Prewave with Harald Nitschinger.

Lippert: Your core technology, the Prewave Prediction Engine, allows you to detect risk events on a global scale, days and sometimes even weeks before they happen. Can you give us examples of how this has given your clients an advantage? Where does the data come from and how does your AI learn to distinguish and filter relevant information?

Smith: The core of our technology is our monitoring. By continuously monitoring a variety of data sources, we identify risk events that affect suppliers. Our AI is specifically designed to correctly understand and classify such events. For example, a strike can mean a work stoppage in English, but it can also mean a lightning strike among other things – and this is where our AI recognises when there is a relevant risk based on the context. Often, risks can also be predicted based on various indicators. In the case of insolvency, for example, there are very early signs that can be picked up on.

We also use our technology to scan complex supply chains in so-called Tier N monitoring. This allows us not only to identify risks in the deeper supply chain, but also to uncover dependencies. At the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, we were able to reveal the indirect dependencies of our clients’ suppliers and enable them to avoid systemic risks.

Currently, Prewave offers a comprehensive range of services that can be applied to different business areas. Our focus is on sustainability and ESG, with the aim of identifying disruptive and financial risks and helping our clients comply with legislation.

Using supplier lists provided by our clients, we can retrospectively assess the supplier base in real time, identify critical suppliers and determine where action needs to be taken. We have created a complete solution right the way up to reporting to BAFA, which will also be adapted for all future legislation. Our goal is to make our customers feel secure so they can focus on the success of their business. In other words, Prewave can provide risk mitigation solutions for businesses in any industry.

Lippert: What challenges or future innovations will shape supply chain management in the coming years and what role will AI play in this?

Smith: What is already apparent today is the trend towards more sustainability. Legislation such as the Supply Chain Duty of Care Act was ultimately born out of consumers’ need for fair and sustainable business practices. This wave will also travel further in the rest of the world, and the issue of sustainability will become more important. The strength of AI lies primarily in its ability to sift through huge amounts of data quickly, which is essential especially in the procurement and supply chain sector. For large corporations, which often have over 50,000 suppliers, monitoring without AI is simply unthinkable. Here, Prewave is determined and passionate about making tomorrow’s supply chains more transparent, resilient, and sustainable. This has been our mission since we were founded in 2017.

Krystle Lippert

Krystle Lippert

Strategic Sales Manager GrECo International AG

T +43 664 962 40 37

Ante Banovac, GrECo Head of Group Sales & Market Coordination

Lisa Smith

Geschäftsführerin Prewave

T +43 1 30 50 743

Lisa Smith is co-founder and CEO of Prewave, a global AI-based supply chain intelligence platform. She received her PhD in Business Informatics from the Vienna University of Technology in 2017. Her research led to the spin-off Prewave, which she founded together with Harald Nitschinger in 2017. Their mission is to make tomorrow’s supply chains more transparent, resilient and sustainable.


Prewave is ushering in a new era of transparency, resilience and sustainability. With the goal of improving supply chains, Prewave uses publicly available data from local news, social media and other databases to uncover indirect suppliers to identify and highlight risks. Prewave’s AI algorithm analyses sources in more than 50 languages and over 140 risk categories to ensure that no disruption goes unnoticed. Prewave covers the complete supply chain risk lifecycle, enabling companies to easily and efficiently implement the requirements of legislation such as the Supply Chain Sourcing Obligations Act.

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