Houston blockchain startup raises $6mn in funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco and Equinor

Houston blockchain startup raises $6mn in funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco and Equinor
Published: 29 May 2019 - 6:45 a.m.
By: Carla Sertin

Data Gumbo, a Houston-based technology company that has developed a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform to streamline smart contracts management for industrial customers, announced in early May that it completed a $6mn Series A equity funding round co-led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, the venture subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, and Equinor Technology Ventures, the venture subsidiary of Equinor, Norway’s leading energy operator.

Data Gumbo’s new capital will be used to expand the company’s commercial blockchain network, in addition to growing the technical, sales and marketing teams at their Houston headquarters and office in Stavanger, Norway. This Series A round brings Data Gumbo’s total funding to $9.3mn.

“We enabled the first application of blockchain technology in the offshore drilling industry and will continue to break new ground with applications of BaaS to improve the bottom line of companies of all sizes," said Andrew Bruce, Data Gumbo's CEO. "Blockchain will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry - and all global industries - and we will lead the charge in its broad adoption for sweeping operational improvements.

"The partnership with Equinor and Saudi Aramco, and their associated supply chains and partnerships, will provide the momentum for the Data Gumbo BaaS network to gain critical mass,” he continued.

Data Gumbo was founded by Bruce, a former executive at National Oilwell Varco and MHWirth, and serial entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software and energy industries. Bruce built Data Gumbo after identifying a cost-saving opportunity to eliminate a sizeable inefficiency between an oil supermajor and one of its suppliers. Bruce devised a blockchain solution, spurring the creation of Data Gumbo’s BaaS distributed ledger network to automate contract execution.

The overarching problem that industrial companies, including those in oil and gas, face is that transactions resulting from measurements are interpreted differently by companies, their service providers and suppliers, be it weight, speed, height, connection, delivery time, volume, quality controls, or any other number of related contract terms. Each company in the supply chain has different interpretations of the data, and when it comes to payments, filings and audits, there are significant delays and disputes. The supply chain parties currently lose hundreds-of-millions of dollars in extra expenses and delays each year due to these delays and disputes, and ensuing reconciliation between supply chain parties.

Data Gumbo eliminates these differences in interpretation with the power of its BaaS network and smart contract technology, facilitating automated calculation, reconciliation and payment of invoice line items in near real time with total transparency -- driving reconciliation time between supply chain counterparts down to zero, among other benefits.

“Distributed ledger technologies have the potential to bring win-win efficiencies between industrial companies and their suppliers, and Data Gumbo is at the forefront of introducing this innovation,” said Daniel Carter, senior investment director, SAEV. “While they have started in the energy sector, Data Gumbo’s platform has broad industrial applicability.”

After removing disputes and enabling automated payment, the BaaS network records the result in an immutable record shared among all parties to the transaction. Benefits include significant cost savings, better reporting, bills paid on time, and clarity and certainty over financial positions for all parties in the supply chain. Customers realize savings of 5-10% off the top on Data Gumbo-managed contracts from a combination of fewer disputed invoices, fast-pay discounts, and performance contracts. Additionally, Data Gumbo offers a subscription model, freeing industry from building and sustaining standalone, in-house blockchain solutions with their inherent lack of interoperability and neutrality.

“While we started in energy, we already have value for bulk commodity haulage, trucking and shipping, with plans to parlay our momentum into other global industries. Wherever two or more organizations share a contractual relationship that can be verified with a digital source of data, opportunities abound to realize efficiencies and cost savings utilizing our blockchain network,” said Bruce.

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