ImpactAlpha, September 12 – The blockchain-based tech venture is the latest in a growing “food transparency” startup ecosystem to raise funding. Its $2.4 million seed round was led by global logistics corporation Maersk, with backing from Relish Works.
Ripe.io was founded in 2017 to improve the quality and transparency of the food chain, which is “inefficient and could do with improvement to reduce the negative side effects and impacts, such as around the issue of food waste,” Ripe.io’s Raja Ramachandran told AgFunderNews.
Underpinning its blockchain platform is a data culling process, that pulls in data from all different parts of the food supply chain: farmers, distributors, processors, traders, grocers, etc., including the use of sensors and other IoT devices. Data from these different sources is often disorderly and fragmented, contributing to lack of clarity in souring and origin in the food chain to begin with. Ripe.io then shares and validates data among all of its partners.
“On the farm side, it could help farmers to increase their sales and pricing, while big companies on the buyer side, like Walmart, want to look at risk management as well as providing more information to their consumers,” Ramachandran said.
Other startups are also developing ways to use blockchain to improve the traceability of increasingly global food markets. Arc-net, in Northern Ireland, is using DNA at a means of tackling “food fraud” by verifying food varieties, like fish and meat. Another U.K. startup, Provenance , has created blockchain-based “digital passports” with a similar goal in mind.
Other companies are focusing specifically supply-chain transparency in food-based commodities, like Bellwether Coffee for, well, coffee, and Uncommon Cacao for cocoa. Meanwhile, Fish 2.0, which has started taking applications for its next competition, is trying to seed more startups working on traceability in the global seafood supply chain.
For Ripe.io, the startup will lean on Maersk’s expertise in logistics and global network for growth, in addition to its financial support.