Everledger, the Australian-based blockchain company, has regrettably entered voluntary administration after an expected funding round failed to materialise. The company, which specialises in tracking the provenance of diamonds and other luxury goods, was placed into administration after it was unable to meet its debt obligations.
Everledger, founded in 2015 by Leanne Kemp, has been an industry pioneer in utilising blockchain technology to ensure transparency in the supply chains of diamonds, art, high-end fashion, wine, and even luxury automobile manufacturing. Among its high-profile partnerships were luxury fashion brand Alexander McQueen and automaker Ford, with whom it collaborated to track electric vehicle (EV) batteries throughout their lifecycle.
Despite such promising collaborations and solid backing from investors, the company’s latest funding round with an unnamed investor fell through. In a statement, Kemp explained that the company found itself in a “difficult and unexpected position” when the second tranche of funding failed to appear.
Everledger was not short of prestigious backers, with the likes of Chinese internet giant Tencent, GMP Securities, Rakuten, and Fenbushi among its investors. Tencent, the owner of the popular social media platform WeChat, led Everledger’s Series A funding round with a $20 million investment and matched a further $3.5 million secured through the UK Government’s Future Fund in 2021.
Everledger’s collapse comes as a shock given its impressive fundraising history. Over the past eight years, the company raised over $51.7 million in external investment and secured $3 million from the Australian government’s blockchain pilot grant in 2021. Notwithstanding these substantial investments, the company was unable to continue operations and declared insolvency in April 2023.
Implications for the Jewellery Industry
Everledger’s administration is indeed a significant development in the jewellery industry. Its innovative use of blockchain technology offered a unique solution to the industry’s ongoing challenges of transparency and provenance, particularly in the diamond trade. Its fall might cause some disruptions in the short term, especially for those who have integrated Everledger’s solutions into their operations.
However, the void left by Everledger’s departure from the market also presents new opportunities. Other blockchain-based solutions providers may step in to fill the gap, possibly sparking innovations and improvements to the technology and its application in jewellery supply chain tracking.
Nevertheless, this development serves as a sobering reminder of the volatility and unpredictability of tech investments and the critical importance of sustained funding for the survival of start-ups. For jewellers and other industry stakeholders, this may prompt a more cautious approach when considering partnerships with tech-based solution providers.
The industry will undoubtedly be watching keenly to see how Everledger’s administration unfolds and the long-term impact this will have on the use of blockchain technology in the jewellery supply chain.