Secro, a US-based technology company and digital bill-of-lading platform known as Secro e-Bill™ today announced an oversubscribed $3.6M in seed funding led by Augment Ventures alongside TMV, with participation by Kluz Ventures and Grit and Gumption Ventures. Secro is co-founded and led by Michele Sancricca, former Head of Supply Chain Technology at Amazon Web Services and Director of Business Transformation at MSC—the world’s largest shipping company. Secro’s platform enables users to perform all the functions of a paper bill of lading with increased speed, seamless user interaction, lower cost and unmatched security, without the need for the cumbersome private agreements used by other electronic bill of lading (eBL) providers.
For centuries, trade documentation has been a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, requiring countless documents and significant contribution from key stakeholders. A single shipment can require up to 50 sheets of paper that get exchanged with up to 30 different parties. The bill of lading, (a detailed list of a shipment issued by the carrier as a form of receipt to the buyer), is one of the industry’s most important trade documents. McKinsey analysis estimates that it accounts for roughly 10-30% of total trade documentation costs. And yet, it remains largely reliant on the physical transfer of paper records.
Secro—built on the NEM Symbol private blockchain—solves this massive challenge by enabling users to easily export proof of original documents, attach supporting files to the e-bill of lading and convert the latter into paper form, seamlessly fulfilling the compliance prerequisites and local customs requirements. Secro also allows users to share their electronic bill of lading (eBL) with partners—allowing multiple teams to work together on eBL drafts—as well as invite internal and external employees to collaborate.
Said Augment Ventures Founder and Managing Partner, Sonali Vijayavargiya: “There has never been a digital bill-of-lading solution that functions like Secro. It’s a game-changer in an industry that is destined to witness seismic transformation in the next few years. The timing is right for Secro to streamline and massively impact the future of global trade.”
Remarks Marina Hadjipateras, General Partner at TMV: “The maritime and logistics industries have made great progress toward digitization and operations across the past several years; Secro is doubling down on that progress—and accelerating it—by addressing a core element of the global trade process, solving its challenges, and building sustainability practices into the industry.
While current electronic bill-of-lading (eBL) providers follow complex rulebooks that serve as a mutual agreement to treat the eBL as equivalent to its paper counterpart, Secro’s proprietary software leverages Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA), which deems eBLs operationally equivalent to paper. Secro’s technology creates a digitally native token that represents the bill of lading on a digital ledger—in alignment with the requirements of Singapore law. Given the company’s innovative legal construct, Secro’s eBL has force of law and legal acceptability across the world under a simple user form—without the need for a private rulebook agreement.
In fact, Secro recently completed the world’s first-ever paperless end-to-end transfer without a private agreement, partnering with fertilizer trading company Nitron Group of Connecticut in a deal involving six counterparties across three continents to move a shipment of liquid fertilizer from North America to Chile.
Secro will use this fresh round of capital to officially scale its platform, develop new features, and expand its network of business partners.
Says Sancricca: “We are ready to create relationships with new businesses, evolve
our offering, and bring innovation and change to an industry that is long overdue.”