Announced on July 11, 2017, Provenance has successfully raised $800,000 in seed funding from private investments which will enable the market launch of its Ethereum blockchain-backed supply chain solution in the UK and abroad.
The $800,000 complements ongoing grant funding and comes on the heels of successful pilots that track tuna and fresh produce from origin to grocers. Provenance established itself as an early adopter of blockchain technology to monitor products in a supply chain. The company said it intends to utilize the funds "to launch a new standard for consumer trust in the food sector with its [Ethereum] blockchain-backed solution, aiming to bring transparency to over 1000 food and drinks businesses by 2025."
Jessi Baker, CEO of Provenance told ETHNews about embracing Ethereum early on. “We were one of the first applications on Ethereum, presented first at Devcon 0 and early Ethereum meetups. We were motivated to build on Ethereum after meeting Gavin Wood in early 2014 and loved the vision to build a global computer that could enable a decentralised, inclusive internet of value.”
She went on to say:
“We are set up as a social enterprise and to date have been funded by grants, mostly as a side project to the team's day jobs, but this fund raise is to prove the business model and scale a socially impactful platform after securing several large retailers to join the platform and fund projects and now a software service. We work in partnership with many of the certifiers e.g. Soil Association Organic to enable digitisation of their marques and chain of custody tracking as part of the software service.”
Funding stems from Humanity United, which is a facet of the Omidyar Group, an organization representing the philanthropic, private, and professional concerns of the Omidyar family. Additional investors include Merian Ventures founder Alexsis de Raadt-St. James, blockchain investment firm Digital Currency Group (DCG), startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center, investors from Angel Academe, and founder of Reuters Venture Capital, John Taysom.
Managing director at Humanity United Dan Viederman points to a growing demand for supply chain verification.
"Legislation and consumer demand are driving an ever greater number of companies to ensure that their supply chains represent their values. Provenance technology helps make local and global supply chains transparent so that retailers, suppliers, farmers and workers can all benefit."
Among the board and advisory group Provenance has assembled is Brian Fitzpatrick, who is behind the Adap.tv sale to AOL, Gavin Starks, founder of the Open Data Institute, and Lily Cole, British supermodel and founder of impossible.com.
Barry Silbert, CEO of DCG, spoke of the growing network Provenance has joined. "We are excited to have Provenance join our network of over 100 bitcoin and blockchain companies across 27 countries," he said, adding, "Transparency and trust are critical to ensuring the integrity of supply chains, and Provenance fills a critical gap in the current supply chain technology landscape."
Baker spoke of the scope of Provenance's goals, and how the funding will help. "Our mission at Provenance is to improve the lives and well-being of the people behind consumer products by bringing trusted, accessible information to commerce," she said. "This funding will help us develop our tools to meet the business need for more trustworthy supply chains whilst empowering shoppers to make a positive impact."
On the horizon, Provenance intends to pre-launch an organic products line in partnership with the Soil Association for Organic September, followed by revealing 100 transparent products in October. Baker told ETHNews, “We are working on fresh food e.g. organic meat and also on specialty commodities e.g. single origin coffee – our clients are UK-based food and drinks retailers (and some food brands too) looking to prove origin, authenticity and impact.”
UK food and drinks businesses may apply to be founding Provenance members by signing up at the company's website.