A former child slave who escaped civil war in Somalia for a new life in Australia, where she started out washing dishes for $5 an hour before going to become chief information officer at Qantas, has raised $28.3 million for her blockchain-based food supply chain startup.
The round in Jamila Gordon’s Lumachain was led by US VC Bessemer Venture Partners as the business ramps up its US focus.
Lumachain previously raised $3.5 million in 2019, in a round led by the CSIRO’s innovation fund, Main Sequence Ventures, having initially bootstrapped for 15 months.
The idea began as a started as a dinner table conversation with friends in the meat processing industry and the lack of visibility in global meat supply chains, so there was no way to connect an individual cut of meat back to the animal it came from.
Gordon had built the Qantas spare parts tracking system, and decided she’d tackle this problem too, launching her startup in 2018. She looked at a range of tech as solutions, including DNA, RFID, and Isotope Analysis, but decided Computer Vision-based Artificial Intelligence (AI), combined with blockchain, smart devices and IoT was the best solution
The startup offers transparency in global supply chains, tracking and trace the origin, location and condition of individual items in a supply chain, in real time, from farm to fork.
Gordon believes that tracking incentivises farmers and manufacturers to create high-quality, ethically-produced products, as well as reducing waste and increasing efficiency to improve revenues and margins.Food waste is estimated to be a $1.5 trillion problem by 2050.
Lumachain was part of Microsoft’s first scale-up program cohort and established a research partnership with CSIRO to develop a track and trace solution for abattoirs, co-funded through the Federal Government’s Kick Start grant program.
That focus on meat has seen the business sign up Andrews Meat, Coles and US giant Cargill to use Lumachain’s vision-based AI to manage food safety to traceability. The capital injection will be use to install that monitoring tech in US meat and processing plants.