Australian AgTech startup BlockGrain wants to raise $25 million
With RiseAgri as its main client, the grain-on-the-blockchain startup now aims to fundraise with tokens.
Founded in 2015, Australian tech startup BlockGrain describes itself as a "simple to use software solution that allows farmers, brokers and logistic companies to track grain at harvest and through the supply chain to consumers. It also enables farmers to create, manage and track commodity contracts, including invoices, payments and inventory, in a single, mobile application."
According to a recent press release, it's now aiming to raise $25 million from an ICO token sale. This is a considerable step up from the $95,000 Queensland government grant that fast-tracked its release, and the $3.5 million private fundraising round from Australian and international investors.
"In the past, if you talked to any farmer, they’d usually say their biggest challenges came down to the weather and bulk commodity prices," said Caile Ditterich, CEO and co-founder of Blockgrain.
"Today, bearing in mind how quickly digital technologies are disrupting various industries, the concerns of farmers have become far more complex. Their challenges include managing business critical data and cashflow, gaining trust of consumers about the origins for their food, and dealing with complexities of the supply chain, costing farmers 30 percent of their bottom line... BlockGrain was created by farmers for farmers, and with a mission to solve these real-life problems."
The minimum viable product has been trialled and used in the industry for two harvests already and grain brokers including GeoCommodities have used it to manage and control grain stock. In 2017, the startup signed up RiseAgri, Australia's largest group of independent grain brokers, as its first major client.
The proceeds from its public fundraising round are intended to add new features to the existing product and to help BlockGrain expand to the fruit, vegetable, wool and livestock markets, and further overseas. It aims to use blockchain technology to improve its supply chain tracking and automation, de-risk contracts and serve as verifiable proof of origin of produce.
The BlockGrain tokens themselves are ERC20 standard, running on the Ethereum network. The AGRI tokens are the publicly traded face, used for powering system functions and allowing user access to the platform's features, while SEED tokens are generated when users enter into a contract and are pegged to a seller's local fiat currency.
It's designed to let customers operate Blockchain as a side to their existing software systems or as the one and only platform for trading and tracking goods.
Agtech in general is a sharply growing area in Australia, with land and resource pressures seeing farmers turning towards other efficiency improvements to cut costs and boost the bottom line. With up to 30% of revenue lost to supply chain inefficiencies, a complete industry-standard distributed ledger solution might be the right answer.
Australia's not the only country looking to bring more technology to the land, and India is currently examining the possibilities of a nationwide agricultural blockchain to accompany other developments.
Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC, NANO
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