Afternoon Coffee: New York sues Amazon for unsafe working conditions in Covid-19; Ivalua has record year; Rheaply secures $8 million investment

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New York state, on behalf of attorney general Letitia James, sued Amazon on Tuesday evening. It alleged that the company provided inadequate safety protection for workers in New York City during the Covid-19 pandemic and retaliated against employees who raised concerns, according to the New York Times.

The case is particularly focused on two Amazon facilities: a warehouse on Staten Island and a delivery depot in Queens. James argued in the suit that Amazon failed to properly clean facilities, conducted inadequate contact tracing for known Covid-19 cases and “took swift retaliatory action” to silence complaints, the article reported.

Last week, Amazon preemptively sued James in federal court to attempt to stop her from bringing charges. The company argued that workplace safety is a matter of federal, rather than state, law. In its compliant last week, Amazon said its safety measures “far exceed what is required under the law,” the NYT said.

In its suit, New York said Amazon received written notification of at least 250 employees at the Staten Island warehouse who had Covid-19. In many cases, the infected employee had worked in the previous week, but Amazon didn’t provide proper ventilation or cleaning.

“Amazon’s extreme profits and exponential growth rate came at the expense of the lives, health and safety of its frontline workers,” James argued in the complaint, filed in New York Supreme Court, the NYT said.

Ivalua announces record year for subscription sales and customer acquisition

Ivalua, a spend management solution provider, announced a record year for the company for subscription sales, customer acquisition and revenue in 2020.

In a press release announcing the growth, Ivalua said new customer acquisition led to 30% growth for annual subscription bookings. Nearly 60 new customers signed with the company — companies like Danske Bank, the state of Alabama, Coca-Cola Philippines and others.

The company also worked on expanding its investment in R&D, the press release said. Ivalua mainly focused its 2020 on helping organizations better manage their Covid-19 responses.

"Companies should not have to compromise between rapid time to value and the flexibility to grow over time," David Khuat-Duy, Corporate CEO of Ivalua, said in the press release. "We remain committed to accelerating time to value while ensuring our customers have the very best technology for their current requirements and to ensure agility in tomorrow's uncertain market."

Rheaply raises $8 million investment to help procurement organizations eliminate waste

Rheaply, a climate technology company, announced on Wednesday that it raised $8 million in an investment round led by High Alpha, among other companies.

The Rheaply platform aims to eliminate potential waste by instituting principles of a circular economy — a model that the company says “designs out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.” The company said that over $630 billion of physical workplace assets sit idle every year — which can lead to inefficiencies in procurement practice and can add over 60 million tons of waste to landfills.

To date, Rheaply has helped organizations divert over 14.5 metric tons of waste and produce $1.6 million in cost savings via 5,000 transactions. This latest round of funding adds to a $2.5 million round from last year.

“Today stands as a momentous day in Rheaply’s history, as this funding demonstrates a commitment from the venture community to fighting climate change and actively supporting Black-led and founded companies,” Dr. Garry Cooper, CEO and co-founder of Rheaply, said in the press release. “I’m thankful for our investors’ belief in the circular economy and call for others to consider the stakes: either we develop and take to market additional inventive and practical climate tech solutions today, or future generations unnecessarily shoulder an impossible burden.”

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