ConsenSys spin-out BlockApps is working with Bayer Crop Science, the controversial agricultural giant formerly known as Monsanto.
The multinational corporation is collaborating on several BlockApps pilot projects, CoinDesk has learned, although the firm declined to specify how many. The projects began as proof-of-concept implementations in 2018.
Michael Pareles, the global digital strategy manager of Bayer’s Crop Science division, told CoinDesk that Bayerâs plan is to partner with BlockApps to âincrease our applications of blockchain, both in our operations and in our industry.â
BlockApps CEO Kieren James-Lubin said his startupâs aim is to graduate several clients out of production mode and into âliveâ services in 2019 as it consecutively raises a Series A round.
BlockApps originally emerged from ConsenSys in 2016 with over $3 million in funding from both the Brooklyn venture studio and outside investors such Fenbushi Capital, which at the time included fund advisor and ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin. James-Lubinâs father, ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin of ConsenSys, remains involved in BlockApps to this day.
According to James-Lubin, the 20-person startup garnered âmore than seven figuresâ in 2018 and expects to earn almost double that amount in 2019 as production goes live. A source with knowledge of BlockApps financials, who asked to stay anonymous for legal reasons, said the startup also earned almost $2 million last year primarily through licensing deals and a few consulting contracts.
Blockskye, a startup that manages inventory and booking within the travel industry, is one BlockApps client that has already transitioned beyond the proof-of-concept stage.
CEO Brook Armstrong told CoinDesk that BlockAppsâ software has become âthe ultimate backendâ for order processing across roughly a dozen directly participating companies.
By leveraging an open system with multiple airlines and hotels, Armstrong said Blockskye is often able to save more than $43 worth of distribution costs per ticket. He aims to expand this corporate network to thousands of travel companies by the end of 2021.
âWe are focused on getting as much money on the blockchain as soon as possible,â Armstrong said.
Unlike many ConsenSys companies, BlockApps generally avoids tokens and is open to offering software services beyond the scope of blockchain technologies.
âBlockchain is a tool and not the destination,â James-Lubin said. âWe describe ourselves as more of a business network company these days.â
If BlockApps offers a successful model for how other ConsenSys companies might spin out of the parent incubator, it also presents a harbinger of what the ConsenSys âmeshâ could actually mean.
Lubin is still a significant shareholder, owning BlockApps equity the way he does for most ConsenSys startups, which has been a point of contention for some. (ConsenSys did not respond to requests for comment and James-Lubin likewise declined.)
Although James-Lubin now considers his startup fully independent from ConsenSys, he said his team interacts with ConsenSys on a weekly basis and shares mutual clients.
âThey are on our board. They provide a sounding board when we need help,â James-Lubin said, adding his startup is no longer a part of ConsenSys but has developed a âbusiness partnershipâ collaborating on contracted projects with his fatherâs conglomerate.
According to a ConsenSys spokesperson, so far BlockApps is one of nine startups to âspin outâ of the central venture studio, including the decentralized exchange AirSwap. The spokesperson said another dozen companies are expected to âspin outâ of the Brooklyn-based studio in 2019.
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