Australia-based Lumachain lands $19.5M to transform the $1.5 trillion meat industry and change how our food is produced for good
The world’s food supply chain is broken and Sydney, Australia-based LumaChain has a plan to fix it. With globalization, it’s almost impossible to trace the origins of the food we eat. In addition, the $1.5 trillion global meat industry also has an ugly track record when it comes to labor abuses.
LumaChain is a food supply chain tech startup on a mission to bring transparency to global supply chains, benefitting producers, enterprises, and consumers, while also helping to end modern slavery. Its goal is nothing less than to transform the global food industry, with technology that enables a better, safer, and more sustainable supply chain, the company says on its website.
The idea for Lumachain started as a conversation around a dining table with friends in the meat processing industry. During the conversation, “one of the groups was explaining that global meat supply chains were fundamentally broken because there was no way to connect an individual cut of meat back to the original animal it came from,” Lumachain founder and CEO Jamila Gordon explains. Jamila was a Somali native who went to Australia as a displaced person during the Somali Civil War.
For five decades, the meat industry had been trying to solve this problem. It was an aha moment for Jamila and immediately reminded her of how she had built the Qantas Airways spare parts tracking system, and “because there is nothing that makes Jamila happier than solving hard problems – she decided to solve this one, too!”
Fast forward a few years later, Lumachain helps major players in the sector to track and trace the origin, location, and condition of individual items in a supply chain, in real-time, from farm to fork. This incentivizes farmers and manufacturers to create high-quality, ethically-produced products.
Using blockchain, IoT, and artificial intelligence, the Lumachain platform is disrupting the traditional enterprise supply chains to provide transparency, safety & trust throughout the supply chain. Lumachain has grown exponentially since its inception four years ago.
The startup uses its algorithms to connect broken links in the supply chain and allow partners to conduct business in a secure ecosystem, Smart-tags, IoT & sensors allow individual items to be tracked, including history, location, and conditions.
Today, Lumachain announced it has raised $19.5 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investor Main Sequence. In conjunction with the funding, Lumachain also announced its first U.S. headquarters in Denver, Colorado.
The company will use the funding proceeds to accelerate the rollout of its world-first computer vision-based artificial intelligence platform at meat and food processing plants across the U.S. and globally. In addition,
Lumachain will significantly scale up its team of computer vision and software engineers, and delivery and product experts from the meat industry. Over the next 12 months, the company expects to increase its U.S. team to approximately 30 personnel, as part of a global team of more than 100. Australian CEO and Founder Jamila Gordon will be based in Denver to scale up its U.S. team as it continues to roll out the platform to customers.
“Lumachain’s mission is to transform the global meat industry, for the good of our customers, their employees, and the planet. Today’s investment accelerates our ability to achieve this mission,” said Gordon.
“Our computer vision artificial intelligence platform represents a huge step forward for the industry. Built-in close partnership with the world’s leading meat and food processors, it creates a safer environment for workers, safer and higher quality food, and end-to-end transparency across the protein supply chain, driving improved ESG and environmental outcomes.”
Lumachain is digitizing the US$1.5 trillion global meat industry, to change how the world’s food is produced for good. Historically, the industry lacked visibility and data in plant operations and across the entire protein supply chain. The industry also suffers a severe worker shortage, and while plant operators are committed to embracing innovation, until now the technology options to do so have been limited, leading to incremental rather than transformational change.
The Lumachain technology platform transforms how meat and food processing plants operate to improve food safety and employee safety, as well as increase yields and quality.
Lumachain’s platform also drives improved Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) outcomes, including improved animal wellbeing and end-to-end traceability data to enable positive change throughout the meat supply chain. The company’s unique ability to connect individual cuts of meat back to the animal they came from, and forward to the box they’re packed into, allows retailers and quick service restaurants to capture provenance and ESG information and share this with consumers to inform purchasing decisions.
Lumachain also enables ranchers and other producers to be rewarded for producing high-quality meat and embracing sustainable practices.
“We’re excited to partner with Lumachain to support their continued expansion, as they transform the global meat industry,” said Tess Hatch, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “Their technology platform and deep customer relationships are an impressive achievement already, at a time when innovation and ESG are top of mind in industry and society. We look forward to partnering in Lumachain’s continuing success.”
Foundation customers include world-leading meat processors Cargill, OSI, and others, who together provide a significant proportion of the world’s beef, chicken, and pork. Another key customer is Coles, Australia’s second-largest supermarket chain.
“We’re embracing cutting-edge technology and innovation across our protein supply chain. Lumachain is a key part of our efforts, and helps support some of the biggest challenges at our production facilities by using computer vision and artificial intelligence to drive efficiencies, create a safer work environment, improve the consistency and quality of our products and enable a more sustainable environment,” said Hans Kabat, president for Cargill’s North American protein business. “Ultimately, our goal is to make our people safe, our plants more efficient and our customers more successful.”
“Through Lumachain’s AI technology and solutions, OSI is expanding our innovation to ensure we consistently remain a leader in food safety, quality standards, and operations excellence,” said Mark Richardson, Senior EVP International Division, OSI Group. “We are also proud to use Lumachain’s digitization platform, which allows us to evolve our whole of life traceability to the world’s leading food brands we support.”
“Coles are partnering with Lumachain to strengthen the use of data and insights throughout the whole supply chain, from paddock to plate,” said Martin Smithson, General Manager of Meat at Coles. “Traceability through the end-to-end meat supply chain is an important part of Coles’ sustainability strategy, and we’re excited about the opportunity to leverage Lumachain’s cutting-edge computer-vision technology.”
Founded in 2018 by Australian national Jamila Gordon, the Lumachain platform offers customers five core modules: safety, yield, quality, efficiency, and traceability. Its team of over 40 software and computer vision engineers, and product and delivery experts spans the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia. Lumachain currently has contracts with customers across the U.S., Australia, Europe, and Asia.
Lumachain operates from headquarters in Sydney and Denver. The company was recognized as a Rising Star as part of the Forbes 2022 Cloud 100 list.