How is Ennoventure Leveraging Technology to Solve One of the Oldest Problems - Counterfeiting?
Ennoventure Inc is based out of the United States and India and is a unique SAAS platform for tracking and authenticating brands across diverse industries like FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Agro-Chemicals and Luxury Goods.
Using proprietary technology patented in the US, Ennoventure encrypts information to be invisible to the naked eye and that stakeholders can scan on their phones to check the product’s authenticity.
The company was founded by Shalini V Nair and Padmakumar Nair and was incorporated in Delaware in 2018. Its subsidiary, Ennoventure Technologies, was incorporated in March 2020 to spearhead research and development in Bengaluru.
Enncrypto was conceived as a software solution that could check the validity of product packaging. Its encryption technology combines AI, cryptography, and blockchain to create an invisible encrypted code that counterfeiters won’t be able to read.
In several cases, multiple machine learning models are used to detect questionable signals. For instance, A Deep Neural Network can easily detect fake product lookalikes, while blockchain stores the product’s e-pedigree from the manufacturer to the consumer.
At present, Ennoventure is focusing its efforts on companies across diverse industries like FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Agro-Chemicals and Luxury Goods across the globe and plans to expand further in the US and European markets.
Additionally, Microsoft has recognized Ennoventure’s solution for Startups, allowing it to be listed on Microsoft’s Azure marketplace. In 2020, Ennoventure was shortlisted by Dubai Future Foundation as a promising global startup in the AI space.
It was also recently accepted at the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston. Furthermore, the company is a member of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) with a mission to strengthen its commitment and technical expertise to combat product counterfeiting and privacy and deliver relevant solutions across geographies.
Here is an exclusive interview with IndiaTech Desk Padmakumar Nair, CEO & Co-Founder, Ennoventure, talks about SaaS used to stall counterfeiting.
Would you please briefly inform us of the specifics on the client base – name a few prominent ones using Ennoventure’s technology for brand authentication?
We are associated with leading FMCG brands and Generic Drug manufacturers in India and hope to expand our clientele as we move towards our growth journey.
How are different industries benefiting from your services? Would you please explain with an example?
While the pharma industry uses our technology as an anti-counterfeit tool, FMCG has additional applications of this technology apart from anti-counterfeit, such as consumer engagement and connected packaging. The technology can also enhance the accessibility of information for differently-abled end-users.
What are your expansion plans, and how do you plan the same in India?
We have recently raised $5 million in a Series A round led by the Fenice Group of Investment. This fresh capital will be utilized towards team expansion and go-to-market strategy across key markets globally.
As part of our growth strategy, we are currently focusing our efforts on companies across diverse industries like FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Agro-Chemicals, Luxury Goods across the globe and further plan to expand to European and US markets.
What challenges did you face during the pandemic from an industry perspective and company perspective?
The pandemic has massively impacted industries across the globe, and the pharmaceutical industry is one of the worst-hit industries. It has led to the production of counterfeit medicines, which is a cause of critical concern.
Slight variations in composition can result in serious health issues and irreversibly destroy the pharma company’s credibility. Ironically, many reports suggest that more than 30 percent of the drugs we purchase online are fake, causing the potential death of over a million people from these counterfeit drugs.
The initial years were crucial for us to raise funds from investors and scale as an organization. It took us three years of hard work and dedication to grow our Series A round, led by Fenice Group of Investment.
The pandemic outbreak was an added disadvantage in our journey towards fundraising, wherein industries across the globe were affected, and we were no exception either.
Another challenge that we have been facing is the lack of awareness about innovative anti-counterfeit technology in the industry and the need to adopt the same.
Hence, we need to educate our clients about the need for anti-counterfeit solutions and their potential in protecting and empowering brands.
The other challenge that we faced during the elementary years was the lack of experienced professionals with ample knowledge about anti-counterfeit solutions or the technology used to address issues arising from counterfeit. This led us to hire freshers and provide them training from scratch.
Would you please elaborate on how effectively technology can combat counterfeiting across industries in India and globally?
The COVID-19 crisis boosted demand for contactless payment and delivery options. While digital mechanisms have many advantages, it has also exposed the consumer to the risk of counterfeit products being sold, many of which are difficult to identify.
Counterfeiting is widespread in India’s FMCG, currency, medicine, alcohol, and automobile industries, with an annual projected loss of about INR 1 lakh crore.
Today, the advances in computer vision and machine learning have made it incredibly easy to copy the design of product packaging, making it exceedingly difficult for consumers to verify product authenticity.
Furthermore, India’s internet penetration has reached an all-time high, meaning that a growing number of Indians keep themselves up to date with the latest information. There are a lot of sticker-based solutions in the market that lack openness and trustworthiness.
Therefore, companies across industry verticals must implement advanced technology that offers confidence, transparency, and integrity to their stakeholders to tackle counterfeiting challenges.
Anti-counterfeiting technology has so far stayed in the hands of the corporation that sells the goods. Ennoventure’s proprietary technology enables anyone with a smartphone to access it on the go.
This empowers both the organization and the consumers to fight against counterfeit products. It further gives consumers the confidence that the manufacturer cares about them and doesn’t want them to consume low-quality counterfeit products.
Would you please talk with data about the demand of your services and their performance?
The pandemic has shifted the momentum towards online e-commerce shopping, with contactless payment habits being the preferred option among buyers.
In addition to numerous advantages, going digital also opens up greater risk of counterfeit products being sold, many of which are very hard to differentiate from the original products.
In India, the sectors that witness the most counterfeiting include FMCG, currency, pharma, alcohol and automotive, with counterfeit products across sectors costing the economy over INR one lakh crore every year.
Counterfeit medicines, in particular, are a major issue in India, as even slight variations in composition can cause serious health issues and tarnish the pharma company’s reputation irreversibly.
As mentioned earlier, 30 percent of the drugs we buy online are fake, resulting in the potential death of over a million people from counterfeit drugs.
In parallel, data penetration in India has reached an all-time high, making Indians aware of things by simply accessing the Internet.
Hence, they are keen to know that the products they are paying for are authentic and will function as promised.
To date, the adoption of anti-counterfeit technology has been left in the company’s hands selling the products in the markets. Ennoventure seeks to shift the balance of power to the consumer through its cutting-edge technology that anyone with a smartphone and WhatsApp access can use.
Ennoventure’s new anti-counterfeit solutions have unique features like no CAPEX required – there’s no need for the product manufacturers to change anything in the production process, no design change necessary for product packaging and no special ink to be applied on packaging
We created an invisible cryptographic signature that cannot be copied. Hence, it is better than QR codes that can be copied easily and embedded throughout the package. Therefore, better than hologram stickers that can fall off the product.
What are some of your current focus areas?
Presently, Ennoventure is focusing its efforts on companies across diverse industries like FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Agro-Chemicals, Luxury Goods across the globe.
In addition to the pharma sector, the FMCG sector is another vulnerable industry affected by counterfeit products.
In order to combat these counterfeits, Ennoventure has come up with a revolutionary technology that can encrypt any information on packaging, and the encrypted information is completely invisible to the naked eyes.
It has applied cryptography to build an authentication tool that has been granted two US patents. Its cryptographic approach will prove cost-efficient