Gresham House Ventures announced that it has invested in Azarc, the business process automation company focused on automating cross-border supply chains. Full details of the investment were not made available. However, unlike the $595,000 debt financing Azarc completed in May 2022, this is a growth investment.
David Robbins, CEO at Azarc, said, “This is the first external investment in Azarc, and we are proud to have secured this backing from a recognised leader in supporting and growing tech-focused businesses like ours. Having already developed a strong customer base in the last three years, we are confident that this investment will enable us to go further in addressing the huge demand we are seeing for genuinely innovative solutions to the challenges of cross-border trade.”
Azarc gets funding after fast start
Launched in 2021 Azarc has a presence in three continents, North America, Europe and Africa. Its Verthread platform leverages Distributed Ledger Technologies to automate business process workflows across supply chains. It enables organisations to connect systems and businesses, enabling them to transact more efficiently. The capabilities include:
- Automated Customs Clearance and Trade Finance, reducing costs and the time taken
- Track and trace shipments with a complete digital audit trail, whether it is for a tomato, plane parts, a computer chip, charcoal, or medicine.
- Optimises the last mile delivery using machine learning
- Automate the flow of information between systems, machines, suppliers & customers, and loT devices to analyse and diagnose issues in real-time.
The investment will be used to expand the Azarc team. As of writing, the firm has eight open positions, all based in London, but we expect that to expand. Azarc will also use the investment to develop its platform further. It hopes to expand its capabilities to enable it to expand into new international import and export hubs with new partnerships. Partners already include BT, Mastercard, DHL, the Port of Rotterdam, Tech Mahindra and HMRC.
This is the first external investment for the startup. Zixin Pan, Associate Director at Gresham House Ventures, said, “We have been impressed with the growth of Azarc’s technology platform since its launch and believe the company’s offering has enormous potential to help businesses streamline their cross-border operations at a time when both cost efficiency and traceability are acute challenges. This investment will play a significant role in driving further adoption of Azarc’s technology and helping more leading businesses tackle the growing complexity of international supply chains.”
Finding a niche to grow with Brexit
Brexit caused huge changes in cross border trade, with new regulations coming into force and a deluge of complexity and additional work that needed completing to maintain the flow of goods. Azarc saw a need to develop its platform to fulfil it. Last year, it partnered with BT and HMG departments to launch Rune, an automated broker, declarant, and expert in customs and border processes.
Rune integrates with Verathread, helping by simplifying the complex import process and reducing or eliminating the border compliance barriers. Working with BT Cargo Community Systems (CCS), the systems have delivered significant benefits:
- 75% reduction in paperwork using Rune
- Decision-making time was reduced by 17%
- 80% error reduction
- 50% increase in operational efficiency
- 40% cost reduction on customs clearances using Rune
Azarc estimated that it has saved up to £225 million in administration costs as well.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
For Azarc, this gives it the funding it will need to expand its operations. The question is how will it expand. Will it look to automate other border compliance processes across the EU or expand its footprint even further within the UK? It will seek to achieve this with partnerships but has not stated whether these will be commercial or government ones. A partnership with the Port of Rotterdam, the largest seaport in Europe, could Azarc look to ease the cross-border compliance burden for those in the EU as well?
For Gresham House Ventures, this is another vendor that focuses on business process automation. It will be interesting to understand what lessons it can draw from and share amongst its portfolio, which already includes: