US-Based Tech Startup Ennoventure Helps UAE Brands Authenticate And Verify Product Packaging
With the help of its patented encryption technology, Enncrypto can add a cryptographic code to any given brand's packaging.
The many plus points of the shift to e-commerce, across various industries, have been discussed at length, especially over the course of the COVID-19 crisis. However, much like any change in a business ecosystem, this digital shift too has come with its fair share of latent disadvantages. One of these is the problem of counterfeit products sold on virtual platforms- in fact, a recent study by community media platform LocalCircles revealed that one in five products sold on e-commerce platforms across the globe have often been found to be fake.
And while counterfeiting has long been innate to the realm of e-commerce retail, there has been a dearth of effective solutions for the same. It’s in an attempt to solve this problem that US-based tech startup Ennoventure created its own software tool, Enncrypto, to verify the authenticity of a product, without affecting its packaging or branding in any manner. “Enncrypto was conceived as a software tool that could verify the authenticity of product packages in a non-disruptive manner, without changing the company’s package design and production process,” explains Ennoventure’s co-founder and CEO Padmakumar Nair. “Across the globe, there is a great risk of counterfeiting in sectors like fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and automotive. Ennoventure identified this gap, and ideated a solution that can be patented, is unique, and is non-disruptive in nature for clients.”
With the help of its patented encryption technology, Enncrypto can add a cryptographic code to any given brand’s packaging. This code is invisible to the naked eye, and, perhaps more importantly, inaccessible to counterfeiters. From a customer’s perspective, the encrypted code can be easily authenticated with the help of a smartphone, upon receiving the package. “Multiple machine learning models are deployed to pick up suspicious signals on different fronts,” Nair adds. “For instance, a deep neural network enables spurious product lookalikes to be spotted quickly, while the blockchain stores the e-pedigree of the product right from the manufacturer to the consumer. We are currently focused across diverse sectors like FMCG, pharmaceuticals, agro-chemicals, and luxury goods, globally.”
Launched in 2018 by Nair and his co-founder Shalini V. Nair in the United States, with its research and development team based in India, the startup aimed to provide digital solutions to solve day-to-day business problems using artificial intelligence (AI), cryptography, blockchain as well as geofencing. “In August 2018, after launching Ennoventure, our CTO, Shalini, applied for two patents in the US- one for the verification of the authenticity of products using smartphones by scanning labels that contain our invisible cryptographic code, and the other pertaining to design and how the cryptographic code for a design is optimized,” Nair says.
In 2020, Ennoventure went on to set up a base in the UAE after being selected by Dubai Future Foundation’s innovation ecosystem, Area 2071, to be a part of its AI Venture Labs accelerator program. “Post this association with Area 2071, we at Ennoventure, decided to start a subsidiary in UAE,” Nair says. “Due to prolonged lockdowns across the globe [due to the COVID-19 crisis], we realized the great connectivity that Dubai has, and hence, decided to keep the UAE as our hub, and started working towards expanding our business here. This year, Ennoventure got recognized as one of the innovative businesses among 24 other leading players to be accepted into the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) accelerator program.”
According to Nair, joining MBRIF has rendered his startup several benefits. “This program is ideal for networking and provides holistic support to each and every department of the organization, right from pricing, to business modelling, to tax consulting,” he says. “The MBRIF team has been of immense support, irrespective of the issues raised. With such a great value add, we look forward to growing and expanding our services in the coming years.”
Although the Enncrypto solution has only been functional for a little over a year, it already has quite a few laurels attached to its name. “Ennoventure’s solution has been recognized by Microsoft for Startups, allowing it to be listed on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace, and it was also recently accepted at the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston,” Nair notes. “Furthermore, we are now a member of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) with a mission to strengthen its commitment and technical expertise to combat product counterfeiting and privacy and deliver relevant solutions across geographies.”
With a 40-person strong team, the startup is now all set to soar higher, having recently raised US$5 million in a series A funding round led by US-based Fenice Investment Group, Nair and his team have no plans of slowing down. “From April 2018 to January 2020, Ennoventure raised a total of $1 million through seed funds, and this fresh Series A capital will be utilized towards team expansion and go-to-market strategy across key markets globally,” Nair adds. “And as a part of our future growth strategy, we are currently focusing our efforts in pharmaceutical companies in India, as it is a key market for the export of generic drugs, and further plan to expand to the European and US markets.”