How This Startup Helps in Combating Counterfeits Through Innovative Technology Solutions for Secure Brands and Safe Consumers

Ennoventure Inc. provides SaaS-based anti-counterfeit solutions to different industries, including FMCG, Food and Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, and Agrochemicals, using AI and cryptography. Their solution allows product authenticity verification without disrupting the current packaging design and printing process, with a cryptographic signature added to the package for a connected packaging experience through smartphones.

Ennoventure Logo

We are publishing an interview with Mr. Padmakumar Nair, CEO and Co-Founder, Ennoventure Inc.:

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?

Ans: Ennoventure Inc. is a SaaS-based company that offers covert brand authentication and engagement solutions to various industries, such as FMCG, Food and Beverage, Pharmaceuticals, and Agrochemicals. Their non-disruptive anti-counterfeit solution allows for product authenticity verification without altering the current packaging design and printing process. Ennoventure’s technology uses AI and cryptography to provide a connected packaging experience through smartphones and adds an undetectable cryptographic signature to the package.

Padmakumar was informed by one of his classmates at MIT that every five minutes, a child in Africa dies from malaria, a disease that can be cured completely but is caused by counterfeit antimalarial drugs. This became the driving force behind the establishment of Ennoventure.

Q.: Please tell us about the founders

Padmakumar Nair is the Co-founder and CEO responsible for the growth strategy and overall vision of Ennoventure. Shalini Nair, also a Co-founder and Board Director, is in charge of innovation. Having graduated together from the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology in Kottayam, Padmakumar approached Shalini about the issue of counterfeiting and proposed discreet and simple solutions. Impressed by the idea, they decided to start Ennoventure together, offering smartphone scannable technology for product authenticity verification that needs no process modification.

About Padmakumar Nair

With over 18 years of leadership experience in developing global business success strategies, Padmakumar Nair has fostered open communication and a motivating leadership style to lead multidisciplinary, cross-functional, and geographically diverse teams and maximize commercial value.

About Shalini Nair

Shalini Nair, with over 20 years of experience in IT and cutting-edge technology services, founded Ennoventure to utilize cryptography and AI in the fight against counterfeiting, ensuring protection for both brands and consumers. With previous roles at Ohile Technologies and HCL Infosystems, Shalini also possesses several intellectual property rights.

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skill Sets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.

Ans: Our team is diverse and covers various areas, including Product & Technology, R&D, Finance, Sales, Marketing, and HR.

Padmakumar Nair, the Co-founder and CEO of the company, oversees the growth strategy and overall vision. With over 18 years of leadership experience, he has developed successful global business strategies and led cross-functional teams across diverse geographies, fostering open communication and a motivating leadership style to maximize economic value.

Shalini Nair, Co-founder and Board Director of Ennoventure, leads innovation efforts. With over 20 years of experience in IT and cutting-edge technologies, she has owned various IP rights and worked at Ohile Technologies and HCL Infosystems. She founded Ennoventure with the goal of leveraging artificial intelligence and cryptography to combat counterfeiting and safeguard both the brand and end consumer.

Amjad Syed, Director of Finance, oversees financial policies and procedures. With over ten years of corporate experience as a CFO, Chartered Accountant, and Company Secretary, he provides sound financial and regulatory guidance in competitive and growth-driven environments. As a progressive executive leader and operational strategist, he has sharp business acumen. He graduated as a topper from Bangalore University and specializes in Governance and Corporate Finance.

Vijayaraghavan RJ, Director People – oversees employee engagement and productivity. With over 20 years of experience in various industries such as banking, telecom, online, and ITES, he is a seasoned HR professional. He is also a certified coach (PCC) from the International Coaching Federation, and is dedicated to creating a highly participatory and engaging work culture that focuses on the workforce’s happiness quotient.

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.

Ans: Enncrypto was founded to provide a software solution that could verify the legitimacy of product packaging without impacting the printing and design processes. The technology utilises artificial intelligence and cryptography to integrate an undetectable cryptographic code into the packaging that counterfeiters cannot decipher. Compared to overt track-and-trace methods, Enncrypto provides a more reliable authentication strategy by creating an uncopyable and impenetrable cryptographic code at an affordable price that can be implemented within 48 hours to various product package designs, eliminating the risk of counterfeiting. The solution involves all participants in the supply chain, from manufacturers to distributors to customers, who can scan the product using their smartphones to verify the authenticity of the product.

Enncrypto discovered that many brands, manufacturers, and printers were hesitant to implement anti-counterfeit technology due to various reasons. Most existing solutions were overt, could be easily copied, required significant process changes, and did not include consumers in the authentication journey. Therefore, Enncrypto developed a unique solution that was invisible, needed no process changes, and could be easily scanned by consumers using a smartphone to detect the authenticity of a product.

Q.: What is your USP?

Ans: USPs:

  • No CAPEX required – there’s no need for the product manufacturers to change anything in the production process
  • No design change required for product packaging
  • No special ink to be applied on the packaging
  • Invisible cryptographic signature which cannot be copied.
  • Embedded throughout the package. Hence, better than  stickers that can fall off the product
  • Works on many substrates
  • Easy to use at consumers’ end, i.e. mobile-scannable
  • Can be provided on different platforms – web, app, social media
  • Can work as a brand-engagement tool to serve several purposes along with anti-counterfeit feature

According to a recent report by Research and Markets, the anti-counterfeit packaging technologies market is expected to reach US$ 522.0 Bn by 2030 with 12% CAGR during the forecast period from 2022 to 2030. International studies currently cite the anti-counterfeiting market alone to be $ 150 bn – $200 bn.

Counterfeiting has a significant impact on product security, with the market for counterfeit goods exceeding a trillion dollars. This presents a major opportunity for counterfeiters due to the rapid globalization, reduction in financial and customs control, and increasingly open economies. The World Customs Organization estimates that the annual value of counterfeit goods trade exceeds US$ 650 billion, posing a constant challenge to customs authorities worldwide. The customs authorities aim to balance regulating and facilitating trade while combating the proliferation of counterfeit goods.

The use of technology will play a significant role in the future to combat counterfeiting. Technological innovation and disruption are critical to future advancements and growth in all industries. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already changing computing, finance, operations, and marketing, among other things. Anti-counterfeit technology has advanced significantly in recent years, with the development of new materials, sophisticated software, and innovative authentication methods, making it increasingly difficult for counterfeiters to replicate items.

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?

When Ennoventure entered the anti-counterfeit market, they discovered that many brands were hesitant to implement such a solution for their products. The primary reasons for this reluctance were the significant capital expenditure and process changes that would be required. Additionally, any visible security features in the packaging could easily be copied using advanced computer vision technology, which was readily available to counterfeiters. These challenges prompted Ennoventure to design a solution that was covert, required no process changes, and involved no capital expenditure.

Ennoventure’s target customer is any company that is facing the problem of counterfeiting, places a high value on their product artwork, and does not wish to invest capital or undergo process changes. Ennoventure currently serves clients across a range of industry segments.

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??

During our early years, our main focus was on securing funding from investors and expanding our company. It took us three years of hard work and dedication to complete our Series A round, which was led by Fenice Group of Investment. However, we faced further difficulties in raising money due to the pandemic’s impact on our company as well as the world’s other sectors. Additionally, a lack of knowledge of cutting-edge anti-counterfeit technology and the necessity to deploy it in the industry was another challenge. As a result, we began educating our customers about the importance of anti-counterfeit solutions and how they could support and protect brands.

Another challenge we encountered was a shortage of experienced staff who were knowledgeable about anti-counterfeiting techniques or the technology used to address counterfeiting issues. This prompted us to recruit new graduates and provide them with thorough training.

Despite the obstacles, we have learned to persevere on our path to end counterfeiting with determination and persistence.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)

Ans:

DateStageAmountInvestors Name
April 2018Seed FundingUSD 0.5 millionAngel Investors
2021Bridge FundingUSD 0.5 millionFriends and Acquaintances
July 2021Series AUSD 5 millionFenice Investment Group

Q. 09: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it?

Ans: Ennoventure has been awarded numerous accolades and recognitions from prestigious organizations across the world. The EMEA Security Conference and Exhibition recently presented Ennoventure with the Most Secure Anti-Counterfeit Technology 2022 award. The CEO Story Magazine recognised Ennoventure as the brand of the year 2022. Additionally, Ennoventure was the recipient of the Leap and CXODX Smart Innovations Award 2022. Ennoventure has been chosen to participate in the Google Startups Cloud Program, which provides Google Cloud credits, training, and business and technical support.

Furthermore, Ennoventure has been selected by Microsoft for Startups, ranked as one of the 96 Most Innovative Machine Learning Companies with a Cambridge basis, and listed as one of the 101 most creative machine learning firms with a Massachusetts basis. At the EMEA Security Conference and Exhibition, Ennoventure was also acknowledged as having the “Most Innovative Brand Protection Technology 2021.” Ennoventure was also admitted into the Cohort of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund (MBRIF) Accelerator Program and was chosen as a Member of Area 2071. These recognitions and collaborations with industry giants showcase Ennoventure’s dedication and excellence in the field of anti-counterfeiting technology.

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?

Ans: We have engaged with major companies from various industries, including FMCG, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and fashion apparel. Our current funding is being used to expand our team and develop a global go-to-market strategy. As part of our expansion plan, we are currently focused on companies across multiple industrial sectors. Additionally, we are expanding our presence in the US and European markets.

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?

Ans: There are a lot of anti-counterfeit solutions that exist in the market. However, we have a unique product which stands out in the market with the following key differentiators:

– Fully Covert solution

– No CAPEX

– Can be scanned easily by the end consumer using a smartphone

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?

Ans: Ennoventure has ambitious plans for the future that involve taking their work to the next level. They plan to expand their efforts to include the encryption of products, rather than just their packaging, at the item level through fingerprinting. In addition to this, Ennoventure is committed to promoting sustainability and recyclability and already has solutions in place to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. Along with expanding their reach to new product verticals, Ennoventure is also exploring new global geographies to expand their impact on a global scale.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs? 

Ans: “Being an entrepreneur is a journey filled with challenges, opportunities and lessons. It’s a journey that requires unwavering perseverance, dedication, and resilience. To my fellow entrepreneurs, I want to remind you that success is not defined by having the best idea, but by your ability to turn that idea into a successful business. It takes more than just a good idea to build a successful company; it takes determination, hard work and a willingness to adapt to change.

One of the key lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of being flexible. No matter how well you plan, there will always be obstacles along the way, and it’s crucial to have the ability to change direction when necessary.’’ – Mr. Padmakumar Nair, CEO and Co-Founder, Ennoventure Inc

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