Around the world, agriculture is struggling with the consequences of product counterfeiting and lack of transparency. The consequences for people and the environment are severe, and the financial losses are in the billions. Swiss startup Authena has developed a globally unique solution to make products safe and supply chains transparent using blockchain-based technologies.
“Globally, one in six products used in agricultural operations is counterfeit. Economically, the financial losses amount to up to $10 billion“, says Matteo Panzavolta, Founder and CEO of Authena.
Andrew Thompson, Global Head of Crop Protection, LSI emphasizes, “To protect our industry, our customers and consumers, Lonza Specialty Ingredients is entering into a strategic partnership in the field of crop protection products with the Swiss startup Authena, which has what I consider to be the best anti-counterfeiting solution in the world.”
The Swiss startup has developed blockchain-based technology to track supply chains and create interactive end-to-end communication between manufacturers and end users. The company is using it to fight counterfeiting, parallel imports, and the detour of pharmaceutical products, for example, on the front lines worldwide. Using NFC transmitters that act as an electronic seal, manufacturers can guarantee the authenticity of their products and detect unauthorized interactions with their goods in real time. Consumers recognize the authenticity of products with a tap on their smartphone, using the free app or a direct NFC connection. This is faster and more secure than any QR code-based solution.
Matteo Panzavolta, founder and CEO of Authena, explains, “Authena creates a digital copy individually for each product, which is stored in the blockchain and thus cannot be modified. Through end-to-end communication, manufacturers also get the opportunity to use their product as a communication tool and provide information via text, images, sound or video to end users. Our solution prevents fraud at all levels and makes a significant contribution to modern customer interaction.”
As a first step, Lonza Specialty Ingredients and Authena are focusing their collaboration on Brazil, where around one in four agricultural products is counterfeit. For this specific market, Andrew Thompson sees opportunities in several areas that will also be applied in other regions of the world: “In a first trial, we are equipping our products with interactive NFC tags. These allow our customers to check where the product comes from, how to use it, whether it has been opened or tampered with, where it is in the value chain and when it expires. At the same time, the data generated gives us a detailed listing of the complete inventory and the certainty that products are not on the shelf past their expiration date. On the one hand, this gives us planning security and, at the same time, the opportunity to communicate directly with our end customers and provide them with advice. In addition, Authena’s technology gives us the opportunity to charge for products only when our customers use them. This enables us to introduce working capital reduction and optimization for our customers,” says Andrew Thompson.
Matteo Panzavolta emphasizes: “The sum of our different service levels can be summarized as a holistic framework in which case-specific and highly individual solutions can be bundled for the different demands of customers. Our goal is to revolutionize the way manufacturers protect their products, their reputation and, most importantly, their customers. That’s why we’re proud to be working with Lonza Specialty Ingredients, one of the most innovative global companies in crop protection.”
The partners plan to further expand their collaboration and develop the technology so that individual farms can be digitally connected directly to Lonza Specialty Ingredients. By automating processes, this will further improve response speed and reliability while increasing cost efficiency. Following the trial in Brazil, Authena will develop customized applications for Lonza Specialty Ingredients throughout Latin America, Switzerland, and other countries.
Authena is the world’s leading provider of blockchain-based technology solutions for tracking supply chains and creating interactive end-to-end communications between manufacturers and end users. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, the startup was founded in 2018 and employs 15 people internationally. The company fights product counterfeiting, parallel imports, and detour of e.g. pharmaceutical products worldwide. Using NFC transmitters, which act as an electronic seal, manufacturers can guarantee the authenticity of their products and detect unauthorized interactions with their goods in real time. Authena is committed to ecological and transparent production lines and sustainable trade systems.