Blockchain startup Everledger has raised $20 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by Chinese tech giant Tencent, with participation from Fidelity, Graphene Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Rakuten and Vickers Venture Partners. The startup intends on utilizing the funding and the expertise of the new partners to bring more visibility to its business.
The London-based startup uses blockchain technology, coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable its users to implement sustainable and verifiable sourcing. The company’s solutions help trace transactions and produce an immutable record of an item’s journey from production to consumption.
Having such a strong cohort of investors join the startup is a validation of the innovation the company has shown to date, Everledger’s founder and CEO Leanne Kemp stated. It’s also a statement of future intent.
She added, “They will support us in bringing more visibility to good business practices in industries that impact millions, if not billions of people in developing countries.”
For Tencent, the investment in Everledger was strategic and the two companies will greatly benefit from each other, the Chinese giant believes. The two companies are already working on a new product for WeChat users, Kemp revealed. WeChat is the largest social media and messaging platform in China and it’s owned by Tencent.
Kemp stated, “As an example, we will launch the world’s first WeChat Mini Program for blockchain-enabled diamonds, uniting key stakeholders in the diamond value chain, which aims to empower WeChat users to buy jewellery with more transparency and security. In particular, we are excited to see how this new partnership with Tencent will help to strengthen and extend our developments in China and contribute to other potential partnerships.”
Founded in 2015, Everledger has continued to expand and currently has solutions that target a wide array of products. Having started as a solution for tracking diamonds, it now tracks wine, art and gemstones. Some of its clients include Chow Tai Fook, a Hong Kong jewelry group, the Gemological Institute of America and U.S.-based jewelry company Brilliant Earth.
Kemp stated, “We have grown 300% in the last year alone, with customers in five continents. We are generating revenue healthily and focused on our continued client engagement and market adoption.”
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