Leading enterprise blockchain technology group Finboot is setting up operations in Cardiff, Wales, having secured a £2.4 million equity investment from investors including the Development Bank of Wales, the multi-energy company Repsol, through its private equity investment fund Repsol Corporate Venturing, and New Look founder Tom Singh, who was the company’s original lead investor in 2018.
Finboot is the SaaS company behind MARCO, a unique production-ready suite of blockchain applications and middleware solutions that unlock blockchain capabilities for enterprises. The fast-growing company has recently announced engagements with Repsol, global chemistry supplier Stahl, leading international fashion brand Desigual, Spanish agritech business Fidesterra, the London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation, and Minexx, which traces and secures the mineral supply chain in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Finboot has a longstanding relationship with Repsol dating back to October 2017, when it was chosen to take part in Fundación Repsol’s start-up acceleration programme, Entrepreneurs Fund. Repsol announced in January 2019 that it would be implementing BlockLabs (a blockchain solution powered by MARCO) to improve the certification process of petrochemical products, thereby driving supply chain efficiencies and supporting ESG standards. Repsol affirmed its confidence in MARCO by making its first investment in Finboot through Repsol Corporate Venturing in July 2019. BlockLabs has since been rolled out and implemented in the majority of Repsol’s energy complexes.
With demand for enterprise blockchain solutions increasing globally, Finboot identified Wales as being the most attractive place from which to capitalise on the growing number of business opportunities, including those in the fintech space. Finboot will become part of Wales’ growing blockchain community, which is supported by the country’s newly-formed, dedicated blockchain network Blockchain Connected. With the support of the Development Bank of Wales, Finboot’s diverse and talented management team expects to create a number of highly-skilled technical jobs in Cardiff.
Nish Kotecha, Chairman and Co-Founder of Finboot, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the Development Bank of Wales to the Finboot family as we establish our presence in Wales to capitalise on the many opportunities here, and to continue our relationship with Repsol as both an investor and customer. Securing this equity investment means that we can further build on the accelerating momentum of the past four years by investing in hiring new talent, sales & marketing, research & development, and our world-class technology. We are ambitious and these funds will support us on our journey to becoming a world-leading provider of enterprise blockchain software globally.
“The need for blockchain technology solutions such as MARCO has never been greater. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the fragility of supply chains around the world, leading to a sharp acceleration of digitalisation. Simultaneously, ESG has become a key business imperative as corporates are under ever-increasing scrutiny from regulators, consumers and shareholders to build back better. This has driven the need for transparency and visibility throughout processes, supply chains and value chains. MARCO creates efficiencies and optimises processes, while also improving companies’ sustainability credentials and reporting procedures. We look forward to helping many more enterprises unlock the potential of blockchain in the years to come.”
David Blake, Investment Executive with the Development Bank of Wales, said: “Finboot is an exciting and dynamic business that is at the forefront of blockchain software technology. It’s exactly the type of high-value company that we want to attract to Wales with our tech venture investments; supporting innovative technology businesses as they develop and create highly skilled jobs. Finboot’s MARCO middleware can be adopted across a variety of sectors on account of its ’out-of-the-box’ usability and blockchain agnostic credentials, meaning the company is able to explore opportunities across all industries and geographies. We’re delighted to be welcoming Finboot’s culturally diverse leadership team as they maximise opportunities to grow the business from their new base in Cardiff and existing operations in Barcelona.”
Jose Salinero, Sr. Investment Manager at Repsol Corporate Venturing, commented: “Repsol and Finboot’s relationship started back in 2017 when the team just had an idea to apply blockchain within enterprises. This innovative idea has become a reality, and the application of BlockLabs, which we jointly developed and tested with Finboot, now helps us to make Repsol's processes safer and more efficient in Repsol Technology Lab and in our refineries. At Repsol, we boost open innovation to turn start-ups´ ideas and technologies into viable businesses and we are proud and happy to be part of this new investment round.”
Derek Goodwin, Head of Entrepreneurship and Tech FDI at the Department for International Trade, added: “We have worked with Finboot since their nascent stages as part of our Global Entrepreneur Programme, welcoming them to set up their HQ in the UK, and we are very pleased to see the business continue to go from strength to strength. We are delighted that customers and investors alike recognise the significant value that MARCO brings to supply chain processes, and we expect to see great things from Finboot in the future.”
The momentum behind enterprise blockchain continues to build, with business leaders seeing it as “integral to organizational innovation”, according to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Blockchain Survey. The technology has come a long way since its origins as the foundation of cryptocurrency, which itself goes from strength to strength as bitcoin wins mainstream institutional acceptance as an alternative asset class: today, over 75% of CIOs consider blockchain a strategic priority or mission critical technology (Wipro).