Food technology firm looks Authenticate to expand in Harrogate after £2.3m funding

Pictured L-R: Graham Davies (Mecia), Grant Peggy (British Business Bank), Paul Marples (Authenticate), Linda Campbell (Autenticate). Pic: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com
Pictured L-R: Graham Davies (Mecia), Grant Peggy (British Business Bank), Paul Marples (Authenticate), Linda Campbell (Autenticate). Pic: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com
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A food technology business that helps track and verify supply chains is looking to take advantage of “exponential growth potential” as an increasing number of food businesses adopt tech to audit supply chains.

Harrogate-based Authenticate Information Systems has secured a new funding round of £2.3m, which includes £1.5m from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and the remainder from existing shareholders including Summit Alpha.

Paul Marples, CEO of Authenticate, told The Yorkshire Post: “Food companies are very technology driven when it comes to process manufacturing.

“In terms of supply chain management they have been quite slow at adopting technology.”

However, this is now accelerating Mr Marples added as the market hears more about Authenticate’s platform.

The software is a hybrid of already existing data as well as information that users of the platform can glean from their suppliers through questionnaires.

Mr Marples said: “You build your supply chains and once you’ve built your supply chains it delivers you all of that data about your suppliers.

“Behind it, there is a big global directory database of 20,000 food companies.

“It also allows you to directly interrogate your suppliers through risk assessment or asking them to answer questionnaires.”

The Harrogate-based business intends to use the funding to further build and scale up its platform.

“Primarily it’s going to be used to further drive the technology,” Mr Marples said. “We’ll be building our tech more over the next year. The tech we’ve got can be scaled faster and we can build software faster than we have been able to do.”

A little bit of the funding will also be used on marketing, Mr Marples added.

The funding was led by NPIF - Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. It will create 10 new jobs in Harrogate.

Graham Davies, investment director at Mercia, said: “Authenticate’s software is helping food companies to meet the ever-increasing burden of technical compliance.

“This latest investment will enable the business to further develop its technology platform and accelerate its global growth.”

Authenticate was founded in 2014 with the aim of bringing greater transparency to the food industry.

Previously it was part of a food auditing group but when that business was sold the technology team wasn’t part of the sale.

Mr Marples said: “When the horsemeat scandal happened it took maybe four weeks to really find the source of the fraud because no business that was selling to the public had any visibility of its supply chain other than its immediate supply chain.

“It was a very manual process of going back and trying to find where that fraud had taken place. It can now be done in a couple of seconds.

“That happened as we set the business up. It was a coincidence but it certainly helped suppliers understand why their customers were asking them to provide transparency on the source of their ingredients and products.”

Raymond Taylor of Solomon Taylor & Shaw provided legal advice to Authenticate while Adrian Ballam of Schofield Sweeney advised the fund.

Stephen Moore of Princelet Partners and Jonathan Davis of Saffery Champness provided fundraising and financial advice to the company.