Hyderabad: T-Hub based blockchain technology startup StaTwig, which has been serving food companies in India and the US is looking at new geographic markets. The company will look at Middle East and Australia in the near term.
The startup believes that Australia is a big manufacturer in food sector while Middle East is a large food consumption market. It is also piloting with several pharma companies in several regulated markets including India. StaTwig is in the process of raising a fresh round of funding to meet its expansion needs.
The startup uses blockchain capabilities to solve the food and vaccine distribution problem. A blockchain is a decentralised and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the records cannot be tampered without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.
Siddharth Chakravarthy, founder and CEO, StaTwig, told Telangana Today, “Our solution helps users to meet their regulatory needs. Regulation is one of the key drivers for blockchain technology. Most pharmaceutical/vaccine companies have to comply with ‘Track and Trace’ by 2019 in the US and there are similar regulatory expectations in the Europe. Most pharmaceutical companies are looking at deploying blockchain platforms. On the food front, there had been expectations to handle salmonella and other such aspects because of the outbreaks in the past. Today, tracing the source takes about three months and if blockchain can help to give quicker results, as early as 30 minutes, it can make a lot of difference.”
Blockchain makes it easy to comply with regulations. Regulators can become a part of the blockchain network of the stakeholders so that the audit can happen real-time, instead of carrying out the audits every 2-3 months.
He explains, “Our solution helps stakeholders across the supply chain -manufacturers, distributors, traders and consumers. Each stakeholder has a different value proposition to leverage blockchain. The manufacturers are usually not aware where the product is and if someone is tampering it. Their logo is on the package of their product and they are subjected to legal action if something happens to those who consume their products, even if a fake product is responsible for that incident. Blockchain gives the manufacturers an extended visibility of the product. Distributors are also directly relevant and they can control the wastage and damage that can happen to the product.”
“End consumers, on the other hand, do not know much about the product other than the logo they rely on. Consumers are often not aware where the product came from, whether the product is properly manufactured or not or whether the product is real or not,” Chakravarthy added.
The stakeholders in the supply chain are keen to use the data that comes through the supply chain and retrieve data for analytics sake. Today, demand-supply capacity planning is extremely difficult. It is difficult to find out the capacity of the warehouse or the pharmacy where the product is being sent. But blockchain makes it possible to plan this more accurately. This technology is the game changer. Data analytics and the story creation based on the data movement are the two major drivers for the end-users.
On the scale of the stakeholders, he says, technology is designed in a modular structure. Blockchain is a new technology and it has huge promises. There is a lot of learning curve when it comes to testing the technology and the users are in different stages of adoption globally.
While radio-frequency identification (RFID) was seen as an answer to supply chain efficiency a decade ago, the technology has more or less faded away. RFID was more hardware-dependent and costly. Supply chain, which operates on a low margin, RFID was not sustainable. Data is a prime today and with the RFID, data analytics was not possible earlier.
E-commerce is changing the technology and companies are deploying new applications to get closer to customers with more innovation. That shift is being leveraged by blockchain bringing transparency into the whole system.
“The UNICEF funding that we got, boosts not only us but the entire blockchain fraternity. This gives us a lot of credibility to our solution. We will get a chance to validate and use it on a global scale.”