Traceability platform seeks $5 million investment to drive Australian food and beverage exports
Revolutionary traceability platform, powered by Orijin Plus is helping build trust and transparency within Australia’s export food chain while driving loyalty and repeat purchases among Asian consumers. Now the Aussie startup is raising a $5 million seed round to support its Singapore launch.
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Farm-to-table transparency is a common desire among consumers who are increasingly interested in knowing more about where their food and drink comes from.
But while the journey from the paddock to the plate might be a relatively short one on a domestic level, telling that story on a global scale presents a new set of challenges for Australian exporters.
Western Australian startup Orijin Plus is working to overcome those barriers with a revolutionary traceability platform that uses blockchain and IoT authentication alongside an in-built rewards program to drive consumer confidence and loyalty in Australian food and beverage exports.
The startup has launched its AUD$5 million seed investment round to accelerate its path forward into new markets, including its Singapore launch, and building partnerships with global brands.
Co-founders and sibling duo, James and Rhys Williamson, were living in Beijing when they saw firsthand the questions Chinese consumers had around food authenticity and provenance.
Tackling that challenge head-on was at the top of their list upon returning to Australia to establish their own beef brand, Latitude 28, for international markets.
“Consumers want to buy direct-to-consumer (D2C). They want to get closer to the producer of the product but on a global scale, when consumers are further removed – from the producer – and especially when it's an imported food product, there is a propensity to look at the provenance to know where it's from.
“Building that confidence in the consumer is what Orijin Plus is about.”
Testing the market
The startup’s first product iteration was a software platform focussed on authenticating Latitude 28’s premium Australian meat products in China.
Using blockchain technology and individually serialised products, they were able to track the beef’s journey from the farm paddock all the way to the end consumer in China.
By scanning the unique QR code attributed to each product, consumers were able to see the supply chain journey for themselves, allowing them to trace it back to its point of provenance.
The next three years were spent testing and refining the platform in the Chinese market, exploring its potential to deliver not only tamper-proof traceability for consumers, but key sales data not usually available to manufacturers and producers exporting their products to a foreign market.
Unlocking consumer connections for exporters
“Before now, an export food and beverage brand had no way of knowing who consumes their product,” said James.
“What we're unlocking is the same power that a D2C brand is achieving in a domestic marketplace – knowing their customer.”
This connection to the end consumer is created by incentivising the buyer to “close the loop” on the supply chain by completing an authentication step through the Orijin Plus app, using a special QR code accessible only after purchasing the product.
“There's a big marketing engine underneath the integrity piece where consumers close out product chains and in return, we release loyalty points and rewards,” explained James.
“Supply chain integrity systems have only been looking at solving the integrity issue within supply chains. We've looked at solving that by creating a bigger marketing engine for brands to actually benefit from a bottom-line perspective, and sell more product.
“We have been very successful in the China marketplace, doubling the number of repeat buyers we had through the mechanism of loyalty point marketing.”
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Tech heavyweights driving growth for Orijin Plus
Orijin Plus has added serious firepower to its team with best in the business of loyalty marketing, former FlyBuys CEO John Merakovsky, former Global Markets CEO of Payback Kai Klippel, and Airbnb software engineer Nathan Baxter.
“The experiences and expertise in the company’s team is massive and brands definitely are excited by that. To be able to lean into what is decades of knowledge around brand marketing is going to be a huge benefit for them when they become part of the platform,” James said.
Once the platform proved successful for Latitude 28, it seemed an obvious evolution to open its benefits up to other, non-competing brands.
“The natural step was developing a coalition of brands that were all contributing, all working together with this same result.
“The potential of cross-brand collaboration is huge.”
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Success drives expansion into new markets
After extending the platform to include new products, Orijin Plus has gone one step further and expanded into a new Asian market.
“We've soft launched in Singapore and got over 15 Australian-based brands on the platform. We've got brands signing up on a daily basis that are excited by the opportunity of what this can bring from a coalition's perspective.”
The platform is gaining traction in the marketplace with consumers, such as Tiffany Lim who spotted an Orijin Plus QR code on a product she picked up from popular Singapore grocer, Little Farms.
“I am curious to find out where the source of food comes from, and decide if I want to continue consuming the food,” said Tiffany.
“Orijin Plus gave me the knowledge of where the product is from and I love how it acts as a global safety supply chain that gives every food an ID.
“I’m absolutely loving the loyalty reward feature as well; I have accumulated some points in my Orijin Plus app and on my way to get my first reward.
“It has influenced my shopping habits, especially in the supermarket, as I am able to gain knowledge and get rewarded at the same time.”
Investors to reap rewards from next phase of growth
To extend their reach in Singapore and explore other potential markets, Orijin Plus is raising its $5 million seed investment round, targeting high-net worth family offices and venture capital firms.
Food and beverage brands interested in export growth, entering new markets or providing greater product assurance for consumers are also encouraged to inquire about the commercial opportunity.
“We are also looking for brands that want to look at their supply chain and drive an integrity piece to their consumers.
“We've invested a lot of money into building this platform over the last four years. We've validated, tested, and the platform is a robust piece of software.
“It's now about activating the consumer marketplace, having more brands join the system and moving into new markets. The next 12 months are going to be really exciting.”
Learn more about this opportunity on growAG. here.
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