Belfast-based food fraud tech firm secures £2m investment

Entrepreneur investor to join board of blockchain developer Arc-Net as chairman

Entrepreneur Dr Richard Steeves and Arc-Net chief executive  Kieran Kelly.

Entrepreneur Dr Richard Steeves and Arc-Net chief executive Kieran Kelly.

 

A Northern Ireland company developing technology to fight food fraud has secured a £2 million investment from a Canadian-born entrepreneur who founded a billion-pound healthcare company.

Dr Richard Steeves, is making the investment in Arc-Net, a cloud-based data company that is building an industrial-grade blockchain technology platform to provide traceability and authentication services for the food industry.

The Belfast-headquartered company was established by Kieran Kelly just three years ago but has already attracted some of the world’s largest food producers as clients.

Mr Kelly had a track record digital leadership before setting up the business – he was previously a director in a global defence company and specialised in information security and cryptography, but he also hails from a family with a meat business in the North.

Mr Kelly, who is Arc-Net’s chief executive, says it gives companies and brand owners the “ability to have independent validation of their food quality”.

“Our service also increases the information flow across the entire supply chain, which helps ensure authenticity, quality, traceability and compliance, based on blockchain technology.

Chairman

Dr Steeves, who is also joining the board of Arc-Net as chairman, said he viewed the Belfast company as a fantastic investment opportunity.

“I am very excited to be supporting Arc-Net and their objective to revolutionise food supply chain security using their novel technology.

“I also find the social aspect of Arc-Net ’s service compelling, working with the food industry to improve transparency and authenticity,” Dr Steeves said.

Although Arc-Net currently employs 20 people it intends to expand its team to 50, and Mr Kelly said the funding boost would help it accelerate its plans and finance further growth.

“Dr Richard Steeves has an incredible track record, having built one of the largest medical outsourcing firms from scratch to sell it for more than $2 billion.

“He is a visionary in the truest sense of the word, and the fact that he shares our vision for arc-net is a massive endorsement of our service, our strategy, and the potential of our company.

“We see significant demand for what we have to offer and this investment will put us in a very strong position to capitalise on that,” he added.