Kedeon makes grocery delivery more secure, transparent and trusted. It provides a solution that protects the brand image and reputation of the delivery services and helps to boost consumer trust and confidence. It helps to prevent the major health risks from food spoilage that are caused by cold chain temperature breaches during the last-mile delivery of perishable food products. The platform allows grocery delivery services to utilize purpose-built IoT sensors that enable real-time monitoring and alerts, as well as to provide transparent delivery information to consumers.
As part of their journey on BlockStart’s Acceleration Programme, as a DLT/blockchain startup provider, they were looking for new opportunities for collaboration with end-user SMEs that could validate and help them improve their last-mile delivery blockchain solution.
We spoke with Founder and CEO Reinis Skorovs to know more about Kedeon and their participation in BlockStart.
In one paragraph, what is Kedeon?
Essentially, Kedeon provides a platform for the transparent monitoring of last-mile deliveries, such as perishable food products. This means that both the delivery services, as well as the end-consumers, can be sure about the quality of the delivered products.
We are utilizing purpose-built, easy to implement, hardware IoT modules that require little to no changes in the existing operations, and minimal training of employees. The measurements are cryptographically signed on the device and stored on the Ethereum blockchain to provide tamper-proof accountability.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?
Kedeon started out as a research project at the RTU university. Data about the cold supply chain industry was gathered to provide a foundation for the use case and current state of the industry. The goal was to provide a better platform for the very fragmented cold supply chain monitoring process, enabling more transparency and accountability.
What is Kedeon passionate about achieving?
Our mission is to help shape a safer and more sustainable world by making quality monitoring accessible to every company, regardless of its size.
Who are the team members and what backgrounds do you have?
I met my co-founder Kristaps about 6 years ago when we both started working as developers for the same company. After work, we often loved to tinker with some ideas and projects and stayed close after leaving. Since then we have participated together in over 10 hackathons and traveled to countless conferences about topics that interested both of us. Later, we participated in Techstars and the 500 Startups blockchain program while helping to build the “#1 most innovative company” in Georgia.
Later we met Aleksandrs at the Future of Food hackathon, who is an Ex-MikroTik engineer and researcher at the Institute of Electronics & Computer Science. After hearing about what we are building, he had many ideas on how to best build out the technology and decided to join as our Head of Engineering, being responsible for the technical architecture and execution, as well as overseeing the firmware development.
During the BlockStart programme, Kedeon has grown its team from 3 to 7 full-time employees, with the focus to build out our development and engineering team.
Can you tell us about the prototype you have developed with the support of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
During the BlockStart programme, we developed a prototype of our new hardware temperature sensor units for the requirements of last-mile delivery services, as well as tested it in a real-life environment. Working closely with potential SME adopters helped us to hear their feedback right away and adjust our product development accordingly to address their needs.
What were you most excited about in taking part of BlockStart Acceleration Programme?
We believe that BlockStart offers a unique program with a focus on collaboration with potential SME adopters. This ensures that the resulting prototype is built to the needs of potential customers, which helps with the future commercialization of the product.
Which were the major challenges you have faced during the development and market/fit validation of your prototype?
During our customer interviews, we learned that 30 min deliveries are often seen as low risk, so we switched to focus on longer-range deliveries. Moreover, we quickly realized from the feedback that our solution is the most interesting for more premium product deliveries, as those customers are much more worried about the quality of their purchases.
What unique aspects does your company and the prototype you have developed have to offer to the market sectors/type of companies you wish to enter/sell and to the blockchain ecosystem in Europe, as a whole?
Food spoilage can happen at any stage of the supply chain, this way causing huge economic losses, and hospitalizations, which leads to reduced customer trust and lawsuits. An estimated 600 million – almost 1 in 10 people in the world – fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year. With the surge of the popularity of grocery delivery services, a high risk of potential temperature breaches during the last-mile delivery process arises, especially if different vehicles and independent contractors are used for the delivery process.
We believe that we have built a unique product specifically for the needs of last-mile delivery services of perishable food products that will help to protect their brand image and reputation, as well as provide reassurance to end-consumers. The resulting data can be integrated with other solutions to help to build an ecosystem to enhance the whole European food sector.
Is collaboration with SME adopters important for piloting your solution?
Yes, especially as our solution uniquely addresses the needs of SMEs.
Our purpose-built platform works with the existing workflow of companies and delivery personnel without requiring an IT team. Moreover, by also enabling end-consumers to see transparent information, they are reassured about the safety of grocery delivery services and this can be used for the publicity and marketing of a higher quality product and experience. This helps smaller companies to compete with larger enterprises and to stand out from the competition.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
We want to expand to other European countries first, addressing the needs of last-mile delivery companies. Later, we will be able to offer our products to other involved companies in the cold supply chain. Future visions revolve around providing monitoring solutions not only for the delivery and transportation of perishable food products but also for pharmaceuticals and other temperature- or humidity-sensitive products.
Moreover, our goal is to provide legally binding monitoring that will help to improve the safety of products for end-consumers and help to protect the brand image and reputation of companies.