Supply chains today are more globalized than ever. Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) students discuss an impact investing deal for a startup that helps consumers support fair trade and sustainable practices.

Have you ever thought about where your morning coffee comes from? How about the soap in your bathroom? Or your clothing — the millions of individual fibers that were farmed by real people who you will likely never meet?

If you’ve ever had these questions, you might be disappointed that answering them is often impossible. Bext360 — a Colorado-based startup — is fixing this issue with supply chain management software supercharged by the power of blockchain.

Bext360 popped onto the radar of Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) in late 2019. After completing a thorough due diligence process, WIVA’s team of Penn students was thrilled to see Bext360 launch their impact investing deal on the crowdfunding platform SeedInvest.

Why Pain in the Supply Chain?

Supply chains today are more globalized than ever, which is mostly positive, as economic opportunities emerge when we connect our planet’s diverse pools of natural resources.

On the flipside, this rapid internationalization of supply chains has also created unintended negative consequences in all economies.

Forced labor in apparel factories and the destruction of ecosystems to make room for palm oil plantations are two examples of tragic exploitation that have developed in the opacity of multi-country supply chains.

Bext360 to the Rescue

Bext360 aims to tackle this problem head-on by bringing transparency and accountability to international operations. Their software is simple but ambitious. It works by first allowing enterprise customers to create digital models of their supply chains. These companies can then track individual commodities (e.g., coffee beans) from the time they’re harvested on the farm to when they arrive on the store shelf. This end-to-end visibility improves companies’ ability to enforce their social/environmental objectives and verify the sustainability of their products.

This strong value proposition allows Bext360 to quickly build a list of customers across the food, apparel, and cosmetics industries. With the additional capital from their incoming SeedInvest raise, Bext360 is poised to accelerate its quest to bring honesty to supply chains everywhere.

WIVA and Bext360

Leveraging WIVA’s multidisciplinary culture, this deal was sourced and executed by Wharton student Lou Stokum, WG’21 and Penn Engineering student Charles Lee, GEN’20. “They’re solving a crucial social problem in a massive market,” said Lou. They have a unique product, early traction, and inspired founders. I’m so excited to watch their impact on supply chain sustainability.”

Charles added, “Blockchain to date has mostly been for lucky individuals who made fortunes off cryptocurrency. I’m ecstatic to see Bext360 leverage the transformative potential of blockchain to help consumers support fair trade and sustainable practices.”

Bext360 CEO Daniel Jones said, “From the beginning, we aligned with WIVA’s vision to advance sustainability goals through businesses solutions. We appreciate WIVA’s impact commitment to ensure a more global understanding of sustainable finance opportunities and capital access for SMEs around the world.”

Christopher George from SeedInvest added, “SeedInvest is thrilled to work alongside Wharton Impact Venture Associates to support their social impact mission. Using the help and support of the WIVA team, SeedInvest was able to evaluate the deal through two lenses: financial analysis as well as environmental impact. We look forward to working with the WIVA team on this opportunity as well as future opportunities.”

Learn more about Bext360 and their fundraising plans.

— Lou Stokum and Charles Lee

Posted: September 18, 2020

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