January 16, 2019

UPS' venture capital arm invests in blockchain startup

Inxeption's e-commerce platform could generate innovative B2B shipping tools, UPS says.

By Ben Ames

UPS Inc. has made an equity investment in a blockchain-based e-commerce startup called Inxeption Corp. and plans to work with the firm to create innovative e-commerce solutions for the market of business-to-business (B2B) sellers and buyers, the companies said today.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Inxeption said in an email that its investors contribute through strategic partnerships as well as purely venture capital backing.

Atlanta-based transport and logistics powerhouse UPS made the investment through its UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, the company's private equity investment arm. The fund operates as a venture capital group which explores emerging markets and technologies, and invests in IT firms that may enhance UPS' evolving business model, the company says.

Past investments by that fund include the same-day delivery company Deliv, reverse logistics services provider Optoro, and automated vehicle systems developer Peloton Technology. Additional funding has gone to firms that provide: cold chain packaging solutions, software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based supply chain software, document and business process management, radio frequency identification (RFID) and semiconductor design, and machine learning analytics.

UPS is now turning its attention to blockchain by striking the deal with Inxeption, a South San Francisco, Calif.-based firm founded in 2017 that makes an e-commerce platform which ensures trusted, secure, and reliable transactions by applying blockchain technology, the firm says. By supporting that trusted data exchange and providing real-time analytics, Inxeption says its platform can increase sales, streamline business processes, and extend products to new online channels.

Most important to UPS, Inxeption says its technology integrates product design, manufacturing, and supply chain. UPS plans to work with the firm in that area, to develop and bring to market new shipping solutions in B2B e-commerce, the companies said. "Inxeption's technology is attractive to UPS because it helps unlock new efficiencies for customers using B2B e-commerce platforms," Kevin Warren, chief marketing officer of UPS, said in a release. "UPS creates alliances and partnerships to gain market knowledge and position the company as the shipper of choice in e-commerce."

Blockchain is one of the hottest buzzwords in logistics technology at the moment, and has already inspired industry initiatives like FreightWaves' Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BITA) and the "TradeLens" alliance between Maersk Line and IBM Corp.

In an email about its new funding, Inxeption said its platform does not compete with those existing organizations, arguing that those alliances provide thought leadership around blockchain standards, while Inxeption has created a commercially viable application that currently serves more than 100 customers.

About the Author

Ben Ames
Senior Editor
Ben Ames has spent 20 years as a journalist since starting out as a daily newspaper reporter in Pennsylvania in 1995. From 1999 forward, he has focused on business and technology reporting for a number of trade journals, beginning when he joined Design News and Modern Materials Handling magazines. Ames is author of the trail guide "Hiking Massachusetts" and is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism.

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