Evrythng, an internet of things (IoT) platform that seeks to give each physical product its own trackable digital identify, has raised $10 million in a round of funding.
The announcement comes as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global supply chain, with inventories, factories, and transport systems all impacted. Evrythng promises transparency and visibility, turning individual items, pallets, and batches into “data-generating” objects on the web and allowing companies to identify and address issues as they arise.
“COVID has caused breakdowns at various parts of the supply chain — factory closures, raw material supply problems, distribution to supply routes, inventory imbalances, and backups,” Evrythng cofounder and CEO Niall Murphy told VentureBeat. “At the same time, COVID has accelerated ecommerce massively, profoundly changing how brands work with different retail channels. Having real-time visibility [into] what is happening across the supply chain and sales channels enables brands to preempt problems and respond or adapt to changes rapidly.”
In addition to giving brands visibility into a product’s path from the manufacturer to retail stores, the underlying technology can offer consumers insights into their product’s journey and even confirm its authenticity — particularly useful when many online marketplaces are awash with fake goods.
Ralph Lauren uses the Evrythng platform to embed unique QR codes into each of its products at the point of production in factories around the world, giving the company real-time visibility into its supply chain and insights into consumer engagement. By scanning the code, shoppers can see instantly that the product is genuine, and they can also link through to the company’s ecommerce store or contact customer service.
“The scale, depth, and ubiquity of Ralph Lauren’s product digitization strategy are groundbreaking,” Murphy said. “While we can clearly point to specific applications like factory visibility and consumer engagement as immediate areas of value creation, it’s the ability to apply real-time knowledge to every area of Ralph Lauren’s operations and its customer experience that is the long-term opportunity.”
How this technology is used will depend on the brand in question, but it’s possible — with consent — to capture individual consumer data, such as a location and profile. Brands can use this kind of data to personalize their interactions and gain deeper insights into what is happening at the point of sale.
QR codes are just one channel for gaining visibility into a product’s journey, and Evrythng uses a range of on-product identifiers and sensors, including NFC, Bluetooth (e.g. Wiliot), RFID, and printed codes (e.g. Digimarc). However, as we’ve seen elsewhere during the COVID-19 crisis, QR codes are proving a particularly useful mechanism for bridging the physical and digital worlds.
“QR codes are becoming extremely popular for consumer goods because they are low cost to print on packaging or add to a label, and every smartphone can automatically scan them,” Murphy said.
Founded in 2011, New York-based Evrythng had previously raised $50 million, including a $24.8 million tranche in 2017. The latest round includes investments from Generation Ventures, Sway Ventures, Fernbrook Capital, You & Mr Jones, IDC Ventures, and Bloc Ventures. With another $10 million in the bank, the company plans to double down on global growth, expand its product capabilities, and hire more employees.