NI food tech firm secures £2m Canadian investment

Arc-net is using blockchain technology to provide traceability and authentication services


A Northern Ireland company which is developing technology to fight food fraud has secured a £2 million investment from a Canadian-born entrepreneur who founded a billion pound health care 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 three years ago and has already attracted some of the world’s largest food producers as clients.

Mr Kelly had an established track record in digital leadership before setting up the business. He was previously a director in a global defence company and specialised in information security and cryptography. His family have 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.

Dr Steeves, who is also joining the board of arc-net as chairman, said he views 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 says the funding boost will help it to 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.