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ESG, blockchain traceability startup Everledger goes bust

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Everledger, the UK-headquartered blockchain startup backed by China’s Tencent, has run out of funds, according to the Australian Financial Review (AFR), which reported that the Australian subsidiary had gone into administration. While companies can emerge from administration, Ledger Insights can confirm that the UK subsidiary is being wound up, a far more terminal procedure. However, the UK holding company is not yet in administration.

The latest holding company accounts show a funding deal of £5.7 million ($7.2m) was reached in November 2022. The company received £1.6 million, but the balance of £4.1 million was subject to conditions to be met in Q1 of 2023. This second tranche did not materialize. Australian founder Leanne Kemp told the AFR that “external reasons and pressures on this investor meant Everledger was placed in a difficult and unexpected position.” 

In 2019 it raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by China’s Tencent, followed by a further $7 million in 2020, including the UK government.

Everledger was founded in 2015 and was first known for using blockchain in diamond traceability, especially to ensure that diamonds are responsibly sourced. I was one of the first major use cases for the Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain. However, it diversified to tracing other minerals as well as luxury goods. In 2021 it won an Australian government project to create digital certificates for critical minerals to help lower compliance costs.

Last year the company launched a battery passport pilot in partnership with Ford. It used vehicle identity, blockchain and artificial intelligence to ensure electric vehicle batteries are responsibly recycled.

Numerous startups have gone to the wall as technology funding has tightened. These include several high profile enterprise blockchain startups, including trade finance platforms and Marco Polo backed by numerous banks, insurer-backed consortium B3i and the container shipping initiative TradeLens from IBM and Maersk.

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