From Spare Change to Nest Egg: How Acorns Encourages Saving and Investing

[But] your world is about financial technology, and it’s this new world that we’re all going towards. We all need to understand it more. Do you think you …

People often believe that investing is difficult, time-consuming, complicated and requires large sums of money. Micro-investing startup Acorns disagrees. Its founders believe investing can be made simple, easy and accessible to people of all incomes.

Acorns encourages users to invest their spare change by rounding up a purchase to the next dollar and investing the difference. Through the Acorns mobile app, the company links to its clients’ bank accounts to save and invest the spare change automatically. For example, if someone buys a cup of coffee for $1.35, Acorns will round it up to $2 and invest 65 cents in an investment account. Because most people are more focused on spending than saving, tying these two activities together leads to small but frequent savings and investments. And from these financial “acorns,” giant oak trees potentially could grow.

Since the company was founded in 2014, Acorns has signed up more than 4.4 million customers. Jennifer Barrett, its chief education officer, believes this rapid growth has come about because “the concept is simple and yet compelling.”

In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton at the recent Fearless in Fintech conference in New York, Barrett discussed Acorns’ journey until now and explained its vision for the future.

Below is an edited version of the interview.

Knowledge@Wharton: What was the origin of Acorns? What inspired the company’s creation?

Jennifer Barrett: A father-and-son team started Acorns. It was the son — Jeff Cruttenden’s — idea. Since his dad [Walter Cruttenden] was in the financial industry, he had grown up being comfortable around investing. When Jeff was in college, he realized that he was unique — not only did he invest, he was actually interested and not intimidated by it. He wondered why we make it so hard for Americans to invest when it’s so important to their well-being, and started thinking about how we could make it easy for people to invest.

Jeff came up with the idea of rounding up spending on purchases and investing the change. The idea behind it was that you’re already spending; if we can attach the process of saving to something that you’re already doing, and we can lower the risk thresholds, we can get a lot more people investing. And then, once they’re in, we slowly nudge them to save and invest more. Jeff worked with his dad and they came up with a prototype, and that was how Acorns was born. His dad came up with the name. They were walking in the woods tossing around ideas when his dad looked down and saw lots of acorns on the ground. He thought, “That’s what we’re doing. We’re planting an acorn, and over time it will become an oak tree.”

Knowledge@Wharton: How big is the oak tree now?

Barrett: We have more than 4.4 million customers and went from no employees to 250 employees in four years, so we’ve grown quite a bit. We have more than $1 billion in assets under management. This is not a lot compared to other financial services companies, but our goal isn’t to compete with them at that level. In fact, we switched our model entirely from doing basis points to becoming a subscription model so that it doesn’t matter how much someone’s invested. We want everyone to invest more for their own sake, but our business model is not attached to the amount of money they have in their accounts. It is meant to be seen as a service, versus a traditional financial industries firm.

“We switched our model entirely from doing basis points to becoming a subscription model so that it doesn’t matter how much someone’s invested.”

Knowledge@Wharton: What’s the profile of your user base?

Barrett: We like to say that we range from 18 to 88 years. But our average user is 29 years old. When you think of the avatar for our user base, it’s someone who’s 29, probably college-educated, carrying a fair amount of student debt and making somewhere around $50,000 or $55,000 in household income. That is fairly representative of America. Also, our clients tend to congregate around urban areas. I think that’s natural given we’re a fintech company based on the West and East Coast. We started in those two areas, but now we have people in every state.

Knowledge@Wharton: You’ve scaled rapidly. What are some of the factors that have driven this growth?

Barrett: I believe it’s because the concept is simple and yet compelling. A lot of our growth comes from people referring friends to try it. Because the threshold is very low — you’re just signing up and putting change in — it’s a pretty easy entry point. We’ve also got a lot of press, which has helped.

The people we’re aiming at are those who have been largely left out of the investment world. Lots of companies used to require a minimum threshold of $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 to open a brokerage account. That was intimidating for a lot of people. Also, these were self-directed accounts, which [again] is intimidating. I think we [came in] at a time when people were realizing that they’re going to be responsible for taking care of themselves more than ever before.

They’re feeling the pressure to invest. They have a lot of student debt. They’re not making as much money as their parents did. They feel like they don’t have a lot of money to invest, but they know they need to. I think we have addressed both those needs, where they feel like they’re doing something for their future, even if it’s just $5 a week, or $5 a month, or something like that. They feel like they can ramp it up when they’re ready.

Knowledge@Wharton: How is the financial literacy at the lower age demographic? It feels as though saving is not a top priority for most young people. Tell us about the landscape that you’re seeing, especially with today’s youth.

Barrett: Financial literacy is one of the big gaps. We’re going to be more and more responsible for our own finances. There are no pensions anymore. A lot of people can’t even depend on a 401(k). Social Security is shrinking. All these things are happening, but we’re not educating people on how to manage their money. I think [only] 17 states require personal finance to be part of their high school curriculum. That’s terrifying.

One of the reasons why I moved into my current role is that we’ve got 4.4 million people who’ve signed up for this app and trust us with their personal information and with their money in some capacity. We have the unique opportunity to teach them, to nudge them along. And it’s a real challenge, because you have to connect it directly to what they’re doing for them to retain it.

“The people that we’re aiming at are those who have been largely left out of the investment world.”

A lot of people who come to us have very little knowledge of investing. We get emails where people say, “What are you doing with my money? Are you saving my money?” People think it’s a savings app. So the first phase of education is, “Here is exactly what happens with your money when you invest with Acorns.” We animate it and show them the journey of their money. We’re working on a full on-boarding education experience that addresses these issues.

The other thing is that if you don’t have experience in investing, and particularly because this generation has only known a bull market, every time the market drops, it’s terrifying for them. A big part of our education is showing them the history of the stock markets and explaining the risks and the returns.

Knowledge@Wharton: Do they seem open to learning about it?

Barrett: I think so. When it’s tied directly to their money, it starts to connect. If you explain compounding, it doesn’t mean anything to them, but when you show them the potential [performance] screen … and explain that “if you put $10 more a month, or $10 more a week, this is how it shifts the trajectory of your money, and this is what you’ll have in five, 10, 20 years,” they start to understand it. But it is difficult. As a country, we don’t value financial education. We don’t talk about it in the way that we talk about some other core life skills.

Knowledge@Wharton: There’s a school of thought that says that to understand finances and to have effective financial literacy, you have to feel your money. You have to hold it. [But] your world is about financial technology, and it’s this new world that we’re all going towards. We all need to understand it more. Do you think you can have effective financial literacy and financial management when you’re not actually holding tangible money?

Barrett: That’s a good point. My background was mostly financial journalism, and we wrote a lot about using cash. There have been lots of studies about the difference [in spending] when you use a credit card versus cash. There is a visceral emotion attached to parting with your cash. I have tried it out personally. When I was getting my finances together, I used only cash for a month just to see how it would change the way I spend. It’s incredible. It really does [change your spending behavior] because you become so much more mindful about how you’re spending.

The challenge now is, how do you become mindful about your spending when you’re not physically feeling that money and peeling the bills out of your wallet? With Acorns, as soon as you’ve spent money on your debit card, you get a notification. This is for two reasons.

“Because this generation has only known a bull market, every time the market drops, it’s terrifying for them.”

One, we want you to be mindful about what you’re spending. Two, if someone steals your card, you will see on your phone immediately if they try to use it, and you can lock it remotely. But a big part is showing people their transactions immediately. It’s about connecting them as much as we can with what they’re doing with their money and where their money is going.

I was talking to a financial adviser about how to determine a client’s risk tolerance. He said he takes a stack of bills, and then he takes half of them and puts them away, and asks the client, “How are you feeling right now?” And then he tells them, “Well, that’s what it’s going to feel like sometimes. The market will go down by 50%. Then it comes back. But you have to be in touch with whatever that feeling is inside you when you see that number drop and know whether you can ride that out or not.” We have to find digital proxies that can have the same impact. That’s mostly visuals, like the performance screen.

Knowledge@Wharton: By nature, young people don’t think long term. But they do need to think about [investing] as a long-term journey. What are you doing on that front?

Barrett: We have a money lab that we formed in 2018. We work with a lot of behavioral economists, and we do different tests with our users. In one test, we took the same amount of money that you would be investing each month, but we divided it by day and by month and by week. We took $150, and we split it as $5 every day, $35 every week, $150 a month, and we asked the users how they would like to invest.

Nearly 30% opted to invest $5 a day without making the connection that it’s essentially the same amount. We used that as a guide and set up recurring investments. Once you understand the mindset, you can make little nudges and people start changing their behavior without even realizing it. It’s fascinating.

Knowledge@Wharton: Acorns is essentially addressing younger people, but are customers staying with Acorns? And if so, as they get older, are you addressing the older population differently than the younger population?

Barrett: We’re just starting to think about that. But we do have a surprising number of customers in their 40s and 50s. Acorns makes it easy to diversify your investments. There are some basic principles that almost anyone can get behind, no matter what your age is. We’re thinking about it in the context of a financial wellness system, which is what we’re moving towards. We’re also looking at how we can personalize our education and our messaging more over the next year, and in a way that’s not creepy or feels too invasive.

I can give you an example. We have more than 250 companies as our Found Money partners. [Acorns’ Found Money partners automatically invest in an Acorns customer’s account. Found Money rewards are credited to the account between 90 and 120 days after the account holder makes a purchase with one of the partners.] We know from our transactional data — that’s anonymous — which companies people are spending money with. So we [partnered with] those companies, and now, when our customers spend with them, they put money into the customer’s investment account. Instead of cash back, it’s a cash forward concept.

“Managing your money is not hard. It comes down to some super-basic concepts.”

But our users don’t always know about it, [so we educate them]. For example, for people who had student loans, we wrote educational pieces that talked about the various aspects of refinancing, the different players in that space, and what they all should consider if they are going to refinance. And then separately, almost like an ad on the side, we pointed out that there were some refinancing players that were part of our Found Money program. So, if they use those players, they get more money in their account. I think something like that can be beneficial for our users, without feeling creepy, because we’re not forcing anything on them.

We are looking at what little nudges we can make to help alleviate some of the financial burdens that people have or help them save a little more each month. We’re moving more and more in that direction, and we’ll probably do more customized content for different age groups or people with different goals.

Knowledge@Wharton: Is Acorns potentially a part of what might be a diversification strategy? If you’re keeping someone as a client investing this way, then over time they will end up getting a broker. So, is it a part of what could be a diversified strategy?

Barrett: Yes. We think of it as being a contained system. If you only use Acorns, you should be able to reach your financial goals using it. The goal is that you should be financially successful. But people have 401(k)s, and I think it can complement that. People may want to invest on their own, and we don’t offer that as a product, so I think it can serve as a complement. I’m sure there are Acorns users who are investing on the side as well and they may be using this as a hedge, because we balance the portfolios to minimize the risk as much as we can.

Knowledge@Wharton: What do you think would be most useful for high school educators to know about financial technology so that they can educate the next generation about it?

Barrett: There’s a proliferation of fintech companies and there’s an app for almost any kind of financial service right now. Young people are used to having devices that help them, distract them, entertain them — but also collect information about them and help them make good choices. My younger son just turned 8. He has a [fitness device] and looks at the steps he has taken every day. He has a goal that he’s supposed to hit, and there’s a little celebratory chiming whenever he hits his goal. A lot of kids in his class have these kinds of devices.

A model like this — where technology and apps on your phone or a mobile device are helping to drive healthy behavior — can help connect with kids. Acorns is only one of many that do the same thing for your money. These apps fit easily into your life. You are already on your phone, and you don’t have to go out of your way to set it up.

When people ask me about investing, I tell them, it is not that complicated. You don’t need to be tracking all of these stocks and staying on top of things every day. It’s about putting your money in regularly in a lot of different funds and letting it grow. Managing your money is not hard. It comes down to some basic concepts, like reinforcing the idea that you should always live on 20% less than you earn. If we could teach the next generation that one message, we would solve the retirement crisis.

Knowledge@Wharton: What is your vision for Acorns in the next two to three years?

Barrett: One of the things we’re thinking about is how can we customize and personalize content around the goals or preferences or life stages of our customers. We want to marry our content and education to what’s happening specifically with your money, and then nudge you to adopt good behaviors and good habits. We’re also trying to play up a sense of community — that when you join Acorns, you’re joining a community of people who are trying to save and invest and change the trajectory of their lives. If you can tap into that and feel a part of something larger, it can be very powerful.

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Here are the 5 best deals on Amazon right now

The Ecovacs Deebot N79S is one of our favorite smart robot vacuums and right now you can get $40 off with the code “KX8M6V8X.” We love this …

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.

One of my goals this year was to save money and to do so I’ve only been shopping for things on sale. Whether it’s clothing or electronics, I’ve been patiently waiting for prices to drop, so I can finally add them to my cart. Each and every day Amazon has incredible deals and price drops on all sorts of products from robot vacuums to speakers to kitchen tools. The best part? You probably were planning on buying these things anyway, so it’s nice to save while doing so.

1. A robot vacuum to do your dirty work

Robot vacuums are great for keeping things tidy in between deeper cleanings, but they’re even better when they have smart capabilities. There’s nothing easier than pressing a button on your phone to set your bot to clean up before you get home. The Ecovacs Deebot N79S is one of our favorite smart robot vacuums and right now you can get $40 off with the code “KX8M6V8X.” We love this model because it has Alexa connectivity and you can control it from your phone at a reasonable price—even more so with this deal.

Get the Ecovacs Deebot N79S for $159.99 with the code “KX8M6V8X” (Save $40)

2. A colorful knife set to chop all the veggies

Having a good set of knives is essential for chopping veggies, slicing bread, and whatever else you use a knife for. If you’re not looking to spend too much, this colorful, stainless steel set from Vremi is one of the best knife sets under $100 we’ve ever tested and will complete your kitchen. They come with hard plastic covers that are ideal for storage and right now, they’re back down to their lowest price. They’re not the sharpest knives out there, but they make a great set for a basic kitchen before you decide to upgrade to a more high-end set.

Get the Vremi 5 Piece Colorful Knife Set for $13.69 (Save $6.30)

3. A small speaker to pump up the jams

Whether your heading to a small get together or a weekend getaway, you’re going to want music to fill any awkward silence, which is why you should have a small speaker on hand at all times. This one from Anker is 15 hours of playtime, is waterproof, and you can connect two of these speakers together for stereo-like sound. It’s small enough to throw into a bag or a suitcase and right now, you can get it for 30% off if you click the coupon button below the price.

Get the Soundcore Mini 2 Pocket Bluetooth Speaker for $20.99 (Save $9.08)

4. The best cold brew makers for hipsters

Even though it’s freezing outside, some of us will still be drinking iced coffee all year round. If you want to get the glorious taste of cold brew in the comfort of your own home, you’re going to want to invest in an iced coffee maker. After testing a variety of cold brew coffee makers, we dubbed the Cold Bruer the best one for “hipsters.” It has a beautiful, unique design that makes iced coffee that’s ready to drink instead of a concentrate that needs to be mixed with water or milk. It’s usually quite pricey at $75, but right now you can get it for just under $50.

Get the Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker for $49.99 (Save $25)

5. One of our favorite tax software programs

Tax season is here people! Doing our taxes isn’t something we want to do, but something we have to do, so you might as well get it out of the way early. Just think about how happy you’ll be when it’s over and you have your tax refund in hand. H&R Block was one of our favorite tax software we’ve ever tested. It’s pretty easy to use and would have earned higher marks on our rankings if it wasn’t for the overly long questionnaire. If H&R Block is your preferred software, you can get all of their software discounted for anywhere from $5 to $25.

Other great deals on the internet

  • All-Clad Cookware: The first Factory Seconds VIP Sale of 2019 is here. It’s a great chance to save big on high-end cookware that’ll last a lifetime. The catch? The cookware may be lightly damaged (but no more than you’d do to it in normal use).
  • Brooklyn Bedding: Save 20% on all mattresses with the code “WINTER20.”
  • DreamCloud Sleep: Save $200 on all mattresses.
  • Dyson—Save up to $150 on select Dyson vacuums, air purifiers, fans, and humidifiers.
  • Houzz—Save up to 75% off best-selling rugs and take advantage of their free shipping sale too.
  • HydroFlask—Save up to 25% on expiring colors of the Hydroflask, the best water bottle we’ve ever tested. Colors include flamingo, mint, blueberry, lava, and storm.
  • KitchenAid Professional 6-Quart Stand Mixer—Get one of our favorite stand mixers for $249.99 at Massdrop (Save $80).
  • Layla Sleep: Save $100 on a new mattress. Layla makes a very comfortable mattress that’s soft on one side and firmer on the other, which is great if you’re not sure what you prefer.
  • Nectar Sleep: Save $125 on all mattresses and get two free memory foam pillows.
  • Nordstrom—Save up to 50% on select apparel for men, women, and kids.
  • REI—Get 30% off select HydroFlasks in the colors lava, blueberry, flamingo and mint.
  • RugsUSA—Take 55% off rugs with the code “SUP55.” This site is fantastic for affordable, quality rugs. They even have free, fast shipping.
  • Sur La Table—Get up to 60% with the winter sale.
  • Target—Take 25% off home, from furniture to rugs to decor.
  • Ulta—Get up to 50% popular skin care brands like Perricone, Memebox, and more in the Love Your Skin sale.
  • Wayfair—Save up to 70% on living room markdowns.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered this holiday season. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

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PepsiCo Sees Future In Artificial Intelligence After Launching Snack-Delivery Robot

The mobile vending machine that PepsiCo recently launched at University of the Pacific has caused excitement among college students craving for a …

The mobile vending machine that PepsiCo recently launched at University of the Pacific has caused excitement among college students craving for a quick refreshment, but the U.S. food giant suggested that this is only the tip of the iceberg of when it comes to providing food service using artificial intelligence.

The self-driving robots, named as Snackbot, were developed through a partnership between PepsiCo and the Bay Area-based Robby Technologies.

PepsiCo developed Snackbot via a partnership with Robby TechnologiesPepsiCo

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At the moment, they deliver snacks and beverages from PepsiCo’s better-for-you portfolio Hello Goodness, which includes Smartfood Delight, Baked Lay’s, SunChips, Pure Leaf Iced Tea, bubly, LIFEWTR and Starbucks Cold Brew.

The Hello Goodness range was launched in 2015, and it has been boosting PepsiCo’s e-commerce and vending businesses.

The company previously conducted a Hello Goodness store test on Amazon back in 2017, and it showed its healthy snacking portfolio performed nearly 45% better than the sales from other similar campaigns and return on investment for advertising.

White space opportunity on campus

According toScott Finlow, VP of innovation and insights at PepsiCo Foodservice, students can order Hello Goodness items from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. via the Snackbot app, which is available for iOS with a University of the Pacific email address.

“Building upon the initial successes of our Hello Goodness platform, we began exploring how we could expand from more traditional vending machines into new formats,” he said.

Snackbot delivers snacks and beverages from PepsiCo’s Hello Goodness portfolioPepsiCo

“We dug deep into consumer insights and preferences, and together with our partners at Robby Technologies, [we] offer consumers the healthier snack and beverage options they are looking for in a fun, mobile-enabled convenient format as they navigate their busy on-the-go schedules on campus.”

PepsiCo believes that a growing need among university students to have easy access to snacks is a white space opportunity for its business.

“College students are strapped for time and they are seeking convenient and healthier options,” Finlow said, adding that University of the Pacific was an exiting customer, and it was “very receptive” to partnering with PepsiCo to adopt innovative technologies.

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The purchased snacks can be sent to more than 50 designated areas across the 175-acre campus without charging delivery fees, according to PepsiCo.

The bots are ready to roll with a range of more than 20 miles on a single charge and are equipped with camera and headlights that allow them to see and navigate in full darkness or rain, as well as all-wheel drive capabilities for handling curbs and steep hills.

Asked how to ensure snacks are not stolen on their way, Finlow noted: “We trust students to be respectful of their campus and community overall.

“However, should issues arise, there are trained Snackbot technicians throughout campus, including student ambassadors who can help fellow students to navigate the app, and report any issues that Snackbot may be experiencing.”

Consumers can order Hello Goodness items through the Snackbot app.PepsiCo

He added that, at any time, there are three to five Snackbots on campus providing adequate capacity to meet current consumer demand. When certain items need to be restocked, Robby Technologies will also have a team on-site, including brand ambassadors, that is trained to replenish the items in each robot.

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“As we learn from our work with Snackbot, we’ll continue doing work to understand evolving consumer needs and working closely with our partners to respond nimbly,” said Finlow.

On-the-go food provided by AI

PepsiCo’s executives reportedly attended the CES this past month in Las Vegas, Nevada, mulling possibilities of extending AI’s role in its business.

The emerging technology-focused show is expected to draw more investor interest than the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos partially due to the U.S.-China trade tensions, according to the head of macroeconomic and geopolitical research at Barings, Christopher Smart.

“We’ve moving toward an economy dependent on vast interconnected data networks that move money, data and services across borders regardless of the rules that govern people and things,” Smart recently wrote in an op-ed piece.

However, PepsiCo is not the first multinational food and beverage company that has used AI to advance its vending business.

PepsiCo is exploring more opportunities in AI.PepsiCo

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Coca-Cola China launched a vending machine a few months ago, using facial recognition and sound interaction to provide an interactive experience to the consumers. It also allows consumers to purchase beverages, as well as recycle used bottles and cans.

In 2017, Sweden-based startup Wheelys also debuted a moving 24-hour convenience store without staff or registers in Shanghai, China, designed to make direct deliveries to consumers and eventually drive itself to a warehouse to restock.

Finlow, who also attended the CES, did not detailed PepsiCo’s next plan with AI, but noted the team saw “incredible future applications for it.”

“It’s an area we’ll continue to watch closely and explore,” he said.

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India’s Country Delight said to have closed Matrix Partners-led funding round

Fresh milk startup Country Delight has raised $7-10 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Matrix Partners, two people familiar …
January 23, 2019

Fresh milk startup Country Delight has raised $7-10 million in a Series B funding round led by venture capital firm Matrix Partners, two people familiar with the matter said.

The company claims to source milk directly from the farm, eliminating the middle men and allowing farmers to earn a premium. It also invests in cold chain and quality testing infrastructure at the farmer’s location. Gurugram-based Country Delight counts investors such as Orios Venture Partners, IMFR Trust and MAN Impact Accelerator.

Founded in 2013 by IIM-Indore alumni Chakradhar Gade and Nitin Kaushal, Country Delight is based on the farm-to-fridge concept and offers fresh milk delivery directly to houses through a subscription model. It is currently available in Delhi-NCR, Pune and Mumbai. Country Delight says its milk is tested on 75 parameters by an FSSAI-accredited lab.

Gade did not respond to an e-mail and a telephone call. Matrix Partners didn’t answer queries until press time.

The company offers other milk-based products including paneer, curd and ghee through its mobile app. Doodhwala, another startup which operates in the same business, raised $2.2 million from agri-focussed venture firm Omnivore Partners in February 2018.

New Delhi based Farmery and iOrganic in Gurugram also aim to provide fresh, unadulterated milk through their farm networks. Country Delight is among the biggest milk-delivery startups with a daily supply of 15,000 litres, according to a Times of India report.

Matrix Partners has previously invested in milk and grocery delivery startup DailyNinja. The online milk delivery industry has an addressable market of $1.2 billion of which 8% is currently online as of May 2018, according to a RedSeer consulting report.

While the milk delivery and produce business is growing fast in India, margins are wafer-thin. Hence, players in the market are adding more essential categories to increase revenue, the report adds.

This article was first published on livemint.com.

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Grain Discovery Executes Corn Transaction Using Blockchain

With the unexpected rejection of two loads of corn because they was just over the threshold for vomitoxin, Canadian farmers Larry Reynolds and Lloyd …

With the unexpected rejection of two loads of corn because they was just over the threshold for vomitoxin, Canadian farmers Larry Reynolds and Lloyd Crowe turned to the Grain Discovery platform to find a new local buyer, confirm the trade, and receive payment instantly. The toxin is produced by mold that has damaged much of Ontario’s corn harvest in 2018.

“By using Grain Discovery, we were not only able to avoid hours of searching for a new buyer, but we found one just down the road, at a better price than the original deal, and were paid instantly,” says Reynolds.

Founded in 2018, Grain Discovery’s online marketplace allows farmers and buyers to advertise thier deals in real time and complete their trades through blockchain, which results in secure and instant payment and built-in traceability that continues beyond the farm gate.

“Farming technology in the agricultural industry is incredibly advanced,” explains Rory O’Sullivan, CEO of Grain Discovery. “However, the way grain is bought and sold hasn’t changed much since our grandparents were farming! In the age of Amazon and eBay, we believe the industry deserves better.”

Grain Discovery is focused on untangling the complicated supply chain for grains. The platform gives more control to both farmers and buyers and has myriad applications, from allowing consumers to see the path their food traveled to calculating the carbon intensity behind the production of food and biofuels.

“We are participating in a number of other pilot projects this year, including tracking soybeans from seeds in Canada to the export market in Japan and coffee from Columbia to your local cafe,” says O’Sullivan. “This transaction was the vital first step toward realizing our goals.”

“If blockchain technology means a few extra dollars in my pocket and a few hours less trucking, then that’s a win,” says Reynolds.

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