Brisbane blockchain provenance startup Everledger placed in administration after funding evaporates

- May 9, 2023 2 MIN READ
Everledger founder Leanne Kemp
Everledger founder Leanne Kemp
Blockchain provenance startup Everledger has been placed in voluntary administration after an existing investor failed to follow through on the 2nd tranche of their funding.

The Brisbane tech company, founded in 2015 by former Queensland chief entrepreneur Leanne Kemp, offers supply chain traceability using blockchain, artificial intelligence, intelligent labelling and Internet of Things. They were used to track and trace the provenance of everything from gemstones and jewellery to critical minerals, wine and spirits, luxury goods, fashion and more recently, EV batteries.

The company was heading toward profitability in the next 18 months and operates in several locations around the world, including China, Ireland, India and the US, which are unaffected by the Australian administration.

The UK arm, Everledger Ltd, was placed in voluntary liquidation on April 20. while controlling entity Foreverhold Ltd continues to operate.

Everledger raised around $55 million in equity funding and grants over its 8-year history, most recently in 2021, with its cap table including WeChat’s Chinese parent company Tencent, the UK government’s Future Fund, Rakuten, FPV, Fenbushi and Bloomberg Beta, among others.

Last year it received the first tranche of funding from an investor who did not complete the second settlement in early 2023. The company subsequently made local staff redundant on March 31, before it was handed over to administrators Steven Staatz and Ashley Leslie, from Vincents Chartered Accountants on April 24.

Creditors met for the first time on May 8. Startup Daily has contacted Vincents for comment, but has yet to receive a response. A 2nd creditors’ meeting is expected in late May.

Everledger example tracking

An example of Everledger’s blockchain supply chain tracing

Last October, the company held successful, world-first battery passport pilot with car giant Ford to track and ensure responsible EV battery recycling. In 2021, Everledger, in partnership with CSIRO Mineral Resources and Data61 received a $3 million Australian government grant under the Blockchain Pilot Grants program to see how blockchain tech could be used to track critical mineral such as nickel, cobalt, copper and lithium. It was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2018.

Leanne Kemp said she remains committed to the mission of the company she founded, along with many others.

“Despite having to make tough decisions such as immediate employee redundancies, I emphasise that Everledger is not a “cash-burning” startup,” she said.

“Our use of capital and operational footprint has been in line with a controlled growth plan, and we have always planned for this investment round to be our last external funding round required before profitability.”

Kemp said what’s happened to Everledger is an example of the harsh risk realities that startup businesses and entrepreneurs face.

“I am heartened by the support of our customers who have expressed their belief in our business and its importance to their success,” she said

“I remain optimistic about the future and am confident that the problem we solve for industry & customers is worthy of committed energy, funding and effort.”