LONDON — Sourceful, a data-driven platform that helps businesses manage their supply chains and source sustainable products and suppliers, has raised $12.2 million in a seed round led by Index Ventures.
Eka Ventures, Venrex and Dylan Field, founder of the design software company Figma, also participated in the round.
Index Ventures partner Danny Rimer, who will join the company’s board, said the appeal of Sourceful lies in the way it uses data to make supply chain management less complicated. He said he was also attracted by the extensive knowledge of its cofounders, Wing Chan and Shiran Zheng.
Chan, who is acting as Sourceful’s chief executive officer, was previously chief marketing officer and chief technology officer at digital consumer giant The Hut Group. Zheng also has experience at The Hut Group, as well as Unilever and the Chinese e-commerce platform Vipshop.
Rimer added: “Today, businesses simply don’t have the tools to act: Affordable solutions are scarce, accurate data is thin, and supply chains are complex. For the first time, Sourceful’s platform enables businesses to move from intention to action. Using Sourceful’s data-driven platform, businesses can access the best suppliers and understand the implications of their supply chains in a way that wasn’t possible before.”
Sourceful offers a way for brands to tackle supply chain emissions — which make up 83 percent of the consumer industry’s environmental footprint — and to reduce their carbon footprints. Brands working with Sourceful gain access to a marketplace where they can buy environmentally conscious products from carefully vetted suppliers.
The company has also created a “universal protocol” for brands and suppliers to assess the environmental impact of their sourcing choices, analyze their supply chains and identify areas of improvement. This is achieved by using data that looks at the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole life cycle of a product.
Intelligent inventory-management and warehousing services are also available. Next year the company is expecting to extend its services to sourcing, customizing and designing sustainable packaging.
Index Ventures, an early investor in companies like Farfetch and Glossier, has been on an investment roll, backing a series of digital-first businesses championing more sustainable business models, including online outlet Otrium and beauty members club Beauty Pie.
Its involvement with Sourceful will help the business scale its current operating model; build out its technology platform; invest in new hires across the sustainability, tech, marketing, and operating sectors, and sustain its growth momentum. Since launching in June 2020, the company has grown fivefold and aims to reach 60 employees by the end of the year.
Sourceful works with companies across the lifestyle, fashion, food and beverage, and health care sectors, including brands such as the sustainable jewelry label Fenton, online market place Floom and Stitched, and café chain Foundation Coffee House.
Fenton, which has been using a pre-release version of Sourceful’s platform, has already succeeded in minimizing its carbon footprint and costs by switching to 100 percent vegan leather ring boxes and recycled and FSC-certified paper packaging from suppliers found via Sourceful. According to the company, this resulted in Fenton reducing the number of vendors it uses and cutting costs by 50 percent.
Given the fragmented nature of business-to-business sourcing — there is a lack of data, shared language, and easy-to-use payment methods, according to Sourceful — the aim is to utilize technology to make things easier for brands, but also remove the responsibility from the consumers.
“We built Sourceful because we wanted to strike at the root cause,” said Chan. “It’s all very well to ask people to ‘shop responsibly’, but the reality is that consumers only have the choices that businesses offer, and it’s not fair to put the burden on individuals to constantly sacrifice cost and convenience.”