Meet the startup simplifying blockchain adoption for ITC and other large enterprises

Settlemint, a Belgian startup, is bringing a low-code blockchain platform-as-a-service for enterprises to streamline their supply chain operations. Settlemint India CEO Shahzad Fatmi explains how.
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Ensuring transparency, traceability, and smooth payments at various touchpoints in their supply chains has long been a challenge for enterprises. Human error, delays, or a bad batch of products can cause major problems for a large agriculture/FMCG firm.

Settlemint, a Belgian startup focussing on the Indian market, is solving these challenges for enterprises with its low-code platform for blockchain adoption.

As we already know Blockchain — which is a distributed ledger technology — records transactions in a secure, transparent, and public manner. This allows enterprises to streamline their supply chain operations, but adopting blockchain solutions takes time to test, assess, and roll out.

“Settlemint’s blockchain platform-as-a-service (PaaS) allows enterprises to begin their blockchain journey in a few clicks and in just around 15 minutes. Other platforms may need between three to five months for this, but we do it quickly and allow enterprises to begin addressing their supply chain challenges in an easy manner,” says Shahzad Fatmi, CEO, Settlemint India.

When a company comes to Settlemint with a problem statement, the startup begins analysing whether it can be solved by blockchain technology. Sometimes, it may not be an optimal solution.

“Blockchain cannot magically solve on-ground transportation problems. But wherever it's relevant, partners can begin using our platform even if they have low to no experience with blockchain. There just needs to be an app built for an enterprise’s specific use case, and integrated with our platform,” Shahzad explains.

Blockchain pilot for ITC

In India, Settlemint has been working on a pilot with ITC’s agriculture business to improve efficiency in its supply chain for wheat.

“ITC is looking to optimise this from procurement to pay, but for now, the focus has been from procurement till processing. They’re testing the technology, our claim in terms of being the optimal solution, etc,” Shahzad says, adding that it is currently too early for ITC to assess and quantify the impact of the pilot on its supply chain.

However, he is optimistic about the results as Settlemint has worked with and rolled out blockchain PaaS solutions for global clients such as Standard Chartered, ABInBev, Carrefour, and others.

On how solutions like Settlemint’s low-code platforms help large enterprises, Shahzad says:

“Take a bad batch of raw materials or products in the supply chain. Without blockchain, it has been difficult for a company to recall the entire batch, or trace individual packets from it. With blockchain, each transaction and step in the supply chain is transparent and visible, making it easy to identify products unfit for human consumption and recall them.”

How it works

Streamlining is made possible when stakeholders at multiple touchpoints record the status of their transaction or involvement on the blockchain-enabled application for a specific supply chain.

For instance, when a quality certification agency inspects and approves a batch of products, the action is recorded on the blockchain and cannot be tampered with.

It also becomes visible to all stakeholders in the supply chain, allowing it to function in a ‘trustless manner’ where a stakeholder need not trust the word of another. Instead, they can just check the transaction history on the blockchain.

“Besides providing tamper-proof records, smart contract-enabled blockchains allow enterprises to automate payments and prevent errors or delays caused by human intervention. Instead of paying farmers late, a smart contract can be programmed to activate and make payments on time when a batch of products reaches a specific point,” Shahzad explains.

Competitive landscape and future plans

With the benefits of blockchain becoming apparent to enterprises around the world in the last few years, the likes of AWS, IBM, SAP, Oracle, and several others have rolled out blockchain solutions.

As per Next Move Strategy Consulting data, the global enterprise blockchain market size is estimated to grow from $5.87 in 2019 to $87.19 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 27.8 percent.

However, Shahzad believes Settlemint has an edge as the Belgian startup offers a wider range of services to help enterprises begin their blockchain journeys.

While many platforms offer API layers, use case templates, multi-cloud options, Settlemint goes a step ahead. Besides the mentioned services and quicker rollout times, it also offers integration studios and development environments and multi-chain capabilities for customers.

Besides FMCG and agriculture, Shahad also sees tremendous potential in bringing blockchain technology to the financial sector and helping banks and NBFCs integrate Decentralised Finance (DeFi) services.

“We’re focussing on India as the opportunity is now large as the economy recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have around 15 members in India, out of 50 in total, and our vision is for clients to come in anonymously, build on our platform, pay us, and deploy it. Our platform is ready, but we are still far away from this awareness and maturity of blockchain technology has a long way to go,” Shahzad says.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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