GrainChain, which uses a combination of blockchain, IoT and the cloud to help manage the logistics around commodities purchasing and transportation, has raised an $8.2 million Series A round of funding. Medici Ventures, the blockchain accelerator arm of Overstock.com, invested $5 million in the round, and was joined by Eden Block and other investors. This brings the total amount raised by GrainChain to $11.45 million to date.
What GrainChain does is pretty complex, but at its core, the company uses blockchain to create smart contracts that help track the flow of commodities (think: corn, soy, black pepper, coffee) from the farm through the supply chain. Once a commodity arrives at a food processing operation, GrainChain’s platform works with different IoT-enabled services to grade the quality of each item, as well as provide data around temperature and humidity while in storage, with blockchain providing all of the authentication.
Once a grading occurs and pricing is set, GrainChain’s software will then facilitate payment to the farmer, the trucker, and any party associated with the smart contract.
For a more in-depth and specific example of GrainChain in action, check out the article my colleague, Catherine Lamb wrote last year about the service being used with coffee farms in Honduras.
GrainChain is among a host of tech startups looking to make the food supply chain more transparent and efficient. Blockchain in particular has been used for tracking E. coli outbreaks and seafood labeling. Companies like AgShift are using computer vision and the cloud to assist with unbiased food grading. And Varcode creates temperature-sensitive, blockchain-based barcodes to track the cold chain.
GrainChain says that it has 2,500 participants on its system right now across the U.S., Mexico and Honduras. The company will use the new funding for product development and expansion into more countries.