BanQu, a non-cryptocurrency blockchain platform has raised an undisclosed Series A extension round to help lift people out of extreme poverty by connecting them to the global supply chains that they participate in, and the brands, organizations, and governments that power them.
The round was led by ZX Ventures and AB InBev and will be used propel BanQu’s growth into new markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
“After BanQu’s outstanding pilot performance in our 100+ Accelerator, we are pleased to solidify the partnership with Ashish, Jeff and the entire team at BanQu through an equity investment. Together, we are working to improve access to modern banking for thousands of farmers in underserved rural markets, driving inclusive growth and contributing to our own 2025 Sustainability Goal as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” said Tony Milikin, Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer at AB InBev.
BanQu is live across 12 countries including Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Uganda, United States, and Zambia. Additional rollouts in China and Mexico are slated for later this year by the for-profit/for-purpose blockchain company.
“ABInBev has been an incredible partner to BanQu over the past year, and together we have innovated and scaled the BanQu platform across multiple countries and thousands of farmers. Farmers at the world’s “last mile,” traditionally excluded from the global economy and lacking a verifiable economic identity, are now visible, financially empowered, and connected in the global supply chain of AB InBev. The ZX investment takes this partnership to a whole new level of commitment on both sides. It cements our core shared vision of making the world a better place while being good business stewards,” said BanQu Co-Founder and CEO Ashish Gadnis.
The partnership with AB InBev was first announced in August 2018 after BanQu launched a successful pilot project in Zambia, benefiting over 2,000 of the region’s small-holder cassava farmers. Successive roll outs in Uganda and India have since ensued, making Brazil the fourth market where BanQu will assist AB InBev in reaching the global brewer’s 2025 sustainability goals.
The BanQu platform has been used by over 4,000 of farmers in Zambia, Uganda and India. The platform aims to create a digital ledger of farmers’ transactions that will create an economic identity and enable access to financial services.
“This will ultimately allow farmers to grow their business and improve the livelihoods of their families and communities,” said Maisie Devine, Global Director for the 100+ Accelerator at AB InBev.
The deal opens up new opportunities for BanQu to do business with FMCG companies looking to build profit and purpose across their supply chains while ensuring UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are measured along the way. BanQu is now integrated with banks and mobile money providers like MTN and Airtel to start reducing cash risk at the last mile.
BanQu aims to further expand its popular “track and trace” feature to AB InBev’s recycling, crop insurance, and labor-related enhancements in an effort to build micro-retailer eco-systems and true circular economies.