Charlie Piper
ATA Fund I
ATA Involvement:

YottaMark’s product fingerprints™ solution detects and deters counterfeit or diverted goods using inexpensive printed codes and instant Internet or cell phone authentication. YottaMark enables consumers, brand owners and security officials to authenticate individual products anytime, anywhere, at any point in the supply chain.

Why ATA?

“ATA’s encouragement to expand our entire business outlook resulted in YottaMark’s strategy to dramatically improve a $15B supply chain need in the grocery industry.”

When the founder of YottaMark walked in the door of ATA Ventures in 2005, it was clear he was on to something powerful. Elliott Grant’s solution to trace individual items by tracking an encrypted code printed on the package was far more cost effective than competitive RF Identification technology; however, identifying markets willing to adopt an innovative supply chain upgrade would be a formidable challenge. ATA accepted the risks and provided YottaMark with its first round of capital.

Following the sophisticated technology development, ATA’s Hatch Graham teamed up with Elliott to identify and attract Scott Carr, an ideal executive for the unique CEO role. Working together, the team set out to prioritize the variety of emerging market opportunities, and based on the sheer volumes and the importance of food freshness, the perishable food industry provided an ideal opportunity…and the HarvestMark® delivery platform was born.

“HarvestMark provided the only unit-level traceability solution that links the first and last mile of the perishable food supply chain — from seed to store to kitchen. Working with ATA, we collectively analyzed the market options and invested towards that objective.”Elliott Grant, CMO and Founder

By the end of 2011, more than 100 brands across North and South America used HarvestMark to track the location and freshness of their fruits, vegetables, and other perishables, and the company found itself in the lead of an emerging market generating a moderate and comfortable top-line growth. Although the progress was reasonable, Hatch approached Scott and Elliott in late 2010 with an interesting proposition – an invitation to re-think the company’s entire business model with an eye towards accelerating growth.

“We all felt that our technology was more valuable than our forecast suggested, but we needed a catalyst to challenge us to step back and evaluate other ways to leverage the leadership position we had secured. Hatch provided the encouragement and support to consider new approaches.” Scott Carr, CEO

With ATA’s support, the team responded with Daily Shopper, a breakthrough in supermarket supply chain management. Capitalizing on the value of “big data” that HarvestMark naturally collects, the team developed a prolific upsell proposition to national supermarket chains, specifically in the area of improving the billions of dollars of unnecessary waste in fruit and produce categories. The positive impact was rapid — within 12 months, HarvestMark’s Daily Shopper had entered pilots with the top five produce supermarkets in America. By the end of 2011, over 3.5 billion individual items had been shipped under the HarvestMark traceability system, originating from over 4,000 farms, under the labels of hundreds the nation’s top produce brands.