We are excited to announce our seed investment in Oweme, a London based supply chain finance platform. Oweme is our first deal in the blockchain space and also our first deal in London. Oweme is founded by Nishant Singh ( CEO, Serial Entrepreneur, IIM A) and Nisha Singh ( COO, ex-Barclays VP, OSU Fischer MBA).
Oweme is a testament to the fact that we read every pitch deck that comes our way and treat every pitch equally irrespective of the source of the deal. Nisha had reached out to us on Linkedin and we were immediately intrigued by the business idea after the first pitch. We had few concerns on the geographic location of the founders (we are based in Bangalore) but our concerns allayed once we met the founders earlier this year.
Supply Chain Finance (SCF) is traditionally defined as “Supply chain finance is a buyer-led initiative that facilitates favorable financing for the supplier in order to achieve mutual benefits for both trading partners, through the use of a technology platform and a third-party financial institution or otherwise.”
However, the above definition is very constraining in today’s complex supply/distribution chains which spans multiple geographies and regulations. Todays supply chains is a cobweb of suppliers and vendors interconnected to each other and spans from the first supplier to end customer.
The role of SCF is to optimise the availability and reduce cost of capital within these complex supply chains. However, most market solutions offer point to point solutions. Given the advancements in technologies such as blockchains (trust, provenance) and AI (risk assessment), platforms can aggregate, package, and utilize data generated in the supply chain to manage risk. It is possible to continuously monitor the data flow and enable financial institutions to lend quickly, confidently, cheaply and in large quantities.
Supply chain finance market is very tough to estimate given the varying definitions but conservatively can be estimated to upwards of few trillions of dollars. It is one of the largest segments of finance waiting to be unlocked and the biggest constraint is the availability of relevant and trustworthy data. One of the perfect use cases for blockchain.
The oweme application has been designed to be seamless. There is no new infrastructure needed or a new application that has to be installed. All participants in the supply chain will receive a unique account number and sort code through which transactions will take place. Oweme is also exploring an innovative token model that would be linked with fiat currencies. Many Government and charity organisations are keen to use this model to ensure that the money that is being disbursed is used for intended purpose.
At seed stages, the primary bet is on entrepreneurs and the market that they are focussing. Oweme ticks both boxes for us. Supply chain finance is a fast-growing financial product category. We were impressed with the clarity of the founders' vision. The business model has strong network effects and is similar to a social network for businesses. The founders are also ideally based in London, the financial capital of the world. Oweme is also the first startup to receive FCA Sandbox license in the supply chain finance space. The founders have shown good resourcefulness to connect with some of the largest banks and corporations for their POCs.
The Oweme platform with the required security clearances has been built in record time and is available for banks to try it. The platform also has a unique incentivisation model to make the transaction cash neutral for suppliers.
We believe that Nisha and Nishant are onto something revolutionary and we are excited to participate in their journey. We wish them the very best in the many future successes that they will encounter. We welcome them to our pi family.