In the enterprise world, the success of blockchain relies on building and scaling business networks. We’ve blazed a trail at IBM with several emerging networks such as IBM Food Trust™ and TradeLens. These blockchain networks are still in early days and show great promise, though there are many open opportunities to tackle use cases that are ready for enterprise adoption now.
This is why we believe that corporates partnering with startups is a winning strategy. As a result, IBM is systematically partnering with some of the best startups in the world through the new IBM Blockchain Accelerator program. We’re helping the most promising companies with existing traction to scale their blockchain business networks. If we collectively get it right, the opportunity is enormous – according to the World Trade Organization blockchain will create economic value of more than $3 trillion USD by 2030.
Today Columbia and IBM are announcing the following 10 growth-stage startups as participants in our NETWORK acceleration program. The founders and executives listed below will be actively working with IBM, Columbia and an all-star roster of mentors to create category-winning enterprise blockchain business networks. If you’d like to join any of these networks or attend our Demo Day on March 8th in NYC, please let us know.
Blockchain network 1: Tokenizing corporate debt with Securitize
Securitize is a compliance platform and protocol for issuing and managing digital securities on the blockchain. The company provides the framework to launch “digital securities” — security tokens — including but not limited to issuer services, investor services and support services. The Securitize Digital Securities (DS) protocol has the highest adoption rate in the market, and they have impressive initial traction from tokenizing venture funds with clients including Blockchain Capital, Spice VC, Science Capital, 22x Fund, Cityblock Capital, Lottery.com and Augmate.
During the program, Securitize will be exploring the tokenization of corporate debt. This is an $82 trillion market annually, and the IBM treasury issues billions in corporate debt every year. Securitization of this asset offers significant time and cost efficiencies to the existing process.
Blockchain network 2: Preventing fraud in digital advertising with Lucidity
Lucidity is a blockchain-based marketing analytics company for digital advertising. They have gained significant market traction delivering transparent ad measurement at scale to brands including Toyota, GameStop and others. In a convoluted supply chain where data discrepancies and fraud are common and cost marketers more than $50 million per day, Lucidity used blockchain technology to enforce measurement standards and create a transparent, auditable record of marketing performance.
Lucidity is working to become the protocol of record in digital advertising, engaging with IBM’s CMO’s office as well as other Fortune 1000 advertisers, publishers and agency holding companies. The goal is to prevent fraud in digital advertising, which currently costs marketers $16.4 billion globally and is expected to 3x in the next 10 years.
Blockchain network 3: Trade finance in emerging economies with TigerTrade
TigerTrade is an international B2B marketplace for trading excess retail inventory, with a focus on emerging markets. They work with large brands and retailers to sell their end of season merchandise to customers in new markets that do not compete with their existing distribution channels. TigerTrade recently launched TradeFlo, an end-to-end blockchain trade facilitation platform for vendor verification, merchandise authentication, payments and shipments tracking.
TigerTrade is building and scaling a trade finance blockchain network for emerging markets. Starting with retailers and manufacturers, which is TigerTrade’s existing customer base, the platform has implications beyond retail to any brand purchasing products from emerging economies. There is also a “blockchain for good” component as the streamlined process and marketplace of customers will have a positive impact on business owners in emerging economies.
Blockchain network 4: Loyalty with Phunware
Phunware, Inc. is the pioneer of Multiscreen as a Service (MaaS), a fully integrated enterprise software platform for mobile that provides companies the products, solutions, data and services necessary to engage, manage and monetize their mobile application audiences globally at scale. Phunware helps brands create category-defining mobile experiences, with more than one billion active devices touching its platform each month. They have raised $100M in VC funding and recently were the first company in history to simultaneously listed on NASDAQ and launched a Security Token Offering (STO) with PhunCoin.
Phunware’s Loyalty blockchain focuses on Fortune 1000 brands in retail and hospitality. By token-enabling their platform for loyalty, PhunCoin aims to provide consumers white labeled, incentives-based loyalty programs and a decentralized data exchange.
Blockchain network 5: Audit of food supply chain with Connecting Food
Connecting Food provides digital solutions to create transparency in the food supply chain from farm to fork, with several major European grocery retailers and food brands as customers. Their solutions include LiveAudit, a 24/7 digital audit which verifies the respect of product criteria, such as organic or GMO-free status, for each product before registering on blockchain, and LiveEthic, which uses smart contracts to reward farmers for participation in the system and for the quality of their produce. They also have a smartphone app that allows consumers to scan a QR code to see all information on the food supply chain and audit results, which helps brands establish credibility and trust in their products.
IBM and Connecting Food are exploring a “network of networks” with Connecting Food as an upstream auditor of food supply chain data, linked to the IBM Food Trust™ solution. This will help to ensure that accurate data is being entered on blockchain and also offer a consumer-facing app for customers to see the journey of their food through the supply chain.
Blockchain network 6: Equipment leasing with Ferrum
Ferrum is Canada’s first blockchain equipment lease financing company, with a goal of increasing transparency and streamlining processes in this $1 trillion global industry. They work with businesses in sectors such as transportation, agriculture, energy, technology and construction, as well as the public sector including municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. The mother-son team has 40+ years of experience collectively in the equipment leasing space and also boasts an experienced team of blockchain advisors and global influencers.
Participation in the accelerator program will help Ferrum to build and scale their product for equipment lease financing, with a business network of lessors, funding partners and equipment vendors.
Blockchain network 7: Ticketing with Bandwagon
Bandwagon is a blockchain-based ticket authenticity and fan identity management company that uses data to help teams and event organizers maximize revenue by focusing on increasing game day attendance and fan engagement. The company’s focus began with college football and has now expanded to include other sports, live music arenas and conventions. Aiming to be the global validator of digital tickets, Bandwagon is tackling a $30 billion industry where more than $2.3 billion annually is spent on fake tickets.
Bandwagon is creating a ticketing network that includes event organizers (sports teams, festivals, concerts, and others) whose tickets change hands multiple times across multiple secondary ticket marketplaces. Eventually they will also use the data to provide ultra-customized engagement with fans based on the data analytics and will also include merchandisers who market to fans as part of the business network.
Blockchain network 8: Patent registry and licensing with IPwe
IPwe is building the world’s first blockchain-based patent platform — a place where the patent ecosystem can come together to transact, interact and communicate. IPwe makes it easy to assess patent portfolios, buy, sell and license patents, pay maintenance fees and engage relevant third-party services. They enable new types of services that are currently impractical or unavailable including insurance and patent-based financing.
IPwe provides a patent licensing platform, with streamlined processes and reduced fees to increase transparency and lower transaction costs. IBM is the largest holder of patents in the US, and one of the largest in the world, and will be the exploring the use of IPwe’s platform during the accelerator program.
Blockchain network 9: Outcomes based health insurance with MetaMe
MetaMe is a universal wallet and Smart Data marketplace, empowering people to take ownership of their digital selves through personalized AI and enabling them to use their data to create value that improves their lives. Their key innovation is Universal Smart Data objects, called metaPods, which are a new asset class of data that is containerized, decentralized, private and compliant. They are partnering with healthcare company AXA to build a consumer app to encourage wellness programs through outcomes-based insurance.
MetaMe is creating an outcomes-based health insurance blockchain network. This will include health insurance companies, medical devices and wearables manufacturers, and hospitals along with wellness and lifestyle companies. Their consumer-facing app will encourage wellness behaviors with personalized nudges, support and token-based incentives.
Blockchain network 10: Education and professional credentials with Credly
Credly empowers organizations to recognize individuals for demonstrated competencies and skills. The company’s mission is to connect people to opportunity based on their demonstrated talent and capabilities. Credly’s Software as a Service (SaaS) is the industry standard, vendor-neutral platform for verified job skills and professional credentials with clients including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Oracle, GED Testing Services and IBM.
IBM and Credly are collaborating on a blockchain-based learning and professional credentials network. IBM currently uses Credly for its professional badging programs via the Credly Acclaim platform, and will continue to partner with Credly on a blockchain-based credential network that includes employers, academic institutions and professional certification organizations.
We had many fantastic startups apply to the program and are fortunate to be working with these 10 incredible companies and teams who we feel are the best of the best. We look forward to collaborating on these blockchain business networks and seeing them scale over the next year and beyond.