British Tech Startup Provenance Aims to Make the Food and Drinks Industry Transparent by 2025
Provenance, a digital platform enabling brands and retailers to bring integrity and transparency to their supply chains, raises money from strategic investors to revolutionise consumer trust
LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–July 11, 2017–
Following a successful international pilot tracking tuna through Southeast Asian supply chains, and a pilot project with the world’s largest consumer cooperativeto track fresh produce from origin to supermarket, Provenance has secured $800K (£650K) in private investment to complement ongoing grant funding, and enable a market launch in the UK and beyond.
Provenance was one of the early leaders to track products along a supply chain on the blockchain – an exciting new technology bringing a new layer of trust to the web. The company aims to use its funding for setting a new standard for consumer trust in the food sector by implementing its blockchain-backed solution with over 1000 food and drinks businesses by 2025.
“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,” says Jessi Baker, CEO of Provenance. “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.”
Funding has been secured from an impact investing initiative of Humanity United, a foundation that is part of the Omidyar Group which represents the philanthropic, personal, and professional interests of the Omidyar family. Humanity United is joined by Merian Ventures founder Alexsis de Raadt-St. James, leading blockchain investors Digital Currency Group (DCG), startup accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center, as well as a selection of handpicked UK angel investors including the Angel Academe, and John Taysom, founder of Reuters Venture Capital (RVC) and Board Observer of Yahoo and Infoseek.
“Legislation and consumer demand are driving an ever greater number of companies to ensure that their supply chains represent their values,” says Dan Viederman, who co-leads impact investing as Managing Director at Humanity United. “Provenance technology helps make local and global supply chains transparent so that retailers, suppliers, farmers and workers can all benefit.”
In addition to a group of strategic investors, Provenance has assembled a board and advisory group of business leaders and sustainability champions including Brian Fitzpatrick, who helped sell Adap.tv to AOL, Gavin Starks, founder of the Open Data Institute, and Lily Cole, British supermodel and founder of social businesses, including impossible.com.
Barry Silbert, CEO of Digital Currency Group, says “We are excited to have Provenance join our network of over 100 bitcoin and blockchain companies across 27 countries. 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.”
Provenance is launching the first 100 transparent products in October, following a pre-launch of organic products in partnership with the Soil Association for Organic September. UK food and drinks businesses can apply to be a founding Provenance member by signing up at provenance.org.
Access images of the Provenance app and pilots here.
Provenance: helping businesses build trusted relationships with their customers
With consumer trust in business at a record low, and regular reports of food fraud, Provenance offers businesses a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to addressing supply-chain risk. Powered by mobile, blockchain technology and open data, the Provenance service sets a new standard for supply chain integrity and transparency for over 200 brands in food, drinks and lifestyle goods today.
The startup’s blockchain-backed software gathers product information, including proven claims, and tracks product journeys in a way that is secure, trustworthy and accessible. With Provenance, every product can gain a digital passport enabling shoppers to trust the claims on the label, and discover the journey of people, places and materials behind it. We live in the world we buy into.
With blockchain venture capital funding currently at $496 million (£396 million)globally, Provenance is excited be a 2017 UKBAA Angel Investment Awardee, poised to help lead the application of this growing technology for advancing supply chain transparency.
The Provenance Team
Provenance, with headquarters at King’s Cross in London, comprises a multi-disciplinary team of developers, designers and commercial specialists, led by CEO Jessi Baker who has a hybrid background in design and engineering, as well as extensive digital product design experience for brands including British Airways and The Guggenheim Museum. An expert on blockchain’s application to supply chains, she provides knowledge and insight on the subject for reputable publishers and broadcasters including BBC News. CTO Ian Kynnersley manages the Provenance product team, with a background in web and mobile development, as well as experience helping businesses such as Barclaycard, Vodafone and Cancer Research UK launch digital products and services.
About the blockchain
The blockchain is an information system that is shared between many computers, and in which new information cannot be removed or changed after it has been written. According to Forbes, blockchain “creates a transparent paper trail that anyone can access, but no one can alter.” Further details on the technology and its benefits for business, society and the environment can be found on Blockchain: the solution for transparency in product supply chains, a whitepaper published by Provenance.
About the Provenance board and advisory group
To aid its growth, Provenance has formed a board and advisory group which includes Brian Fitzpatrick, serial investor and part of Adap.tv which exited to AOL over $405 million in 2013, Gavin Starks, founding Chief Executive of the Open Data Institute, theODI.org, and environmental data company, AMEE.com, and Lily Cole, British supermodel and founder of social businesses, including impossible.com. Gavin Starks, non-executive director, says “Provenance are demonstrating a real-world business application for blockchain technology and open data: to help deliver timely, relevant data for both risk analysis and consumer transparency. Their solution is highly scalable and the results from its early pilots show that they are adept at meeting user needs.”
About Humanity United
Humanity United is a foundation dedicated to bringing new approaches to global problems that have long been considered intractable. We build, lead, and support efforts to change the systems that contribute to problems like human trafficking, mass atrocities, and violent conflict. HU is part of the Omidyar Group, which represents the philanthropic, personal, and professional interests of the Omidyar family.
About Digital Currency Group
Digital Currency Group (DCG) is the largest early stage strategic investor in blockchain companies worldwide, and the DCG network now includes over 100 companies across 27 countries. DCG recently launched DCG Connect – a blockchain business ecosystem focused on accelerating enterprise adoption with membership from the world’s leading corporations and blockchain innovators.
About Merian Ventures and Alexsis de Raadt-St. James
Alexsis de Raadt-St. James is an experienced business executive, investor and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the industry. She is the founder and managing partner of Merian Ventures and The Althea Foundation, a social impact fund. Alexsis says “We are delighted to support Jessi and her team as they further develop their platform and bring transparency to more supply chains in the food and beverage sectors.”
About Angel Academe
An award-winning angel investment group set up to encourage more women to become angel investors and support tech startups with female founders. The investment was led by experienced investor and finance executive Francesca Tondi. Other notable angels include business development professional Marianne Costigan, University of Oxford’s Eugene Duff, and Angel Academe founder Sarah Turner.
About Plug and Play Tech Center
Plug and Play is a global innovation platform connecting startups to corporations, and investing in over 100 companies every year. The centre has 22 locations worldwide, with success stories that include PayPal, Dropbox, SoundHound, and Lending Club. George Damouny, Principal from Plug and Play Ventures, notes “transparency, efficiency, and traceability in the supply chain is becoming an increasingly relevant topic and Provenance plays right into that thesis. By connecting physical goods to the digital world, Provenance is reimagining the future of supply chains.”