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ConsenSys Spin-Off BlockApps Inks Deal With Bayer’s Monsanto Arm

ConsenSys spin-out BlockApps is coax with Bayer Crop Science, the controversial agricultural giant formerly known as Monsanto.

The multinational corporation is cooperating on several BlockApps pilot projects, CoinDesk has learned, although the firm declined to specify how many. The projects began as proof-of-concept implementations in 2018.

Michael Pareles, the extensive digital strategy manager of Bayer’s Crop Science division, told CoinDesk that Bayer’s plan is to sharer with BlockApps to “increase our applications of blockchain, both in our operations and in our industry.”

BlockApps CEO Kieren James-Lubin said his startup’s aim is to graduate a number of clients out of production mode and into “live” services in 2019 as it consecutively raises a Series A round.

BlockApps from the word go emerged from ConsenSys in 2016 with over $3 million in funding from both the Brooklyn risk studio and outside investors such Fenbushi Capital, which at the time included fund advisor and ethereum Supreme Being Vitalik Buterin. James-Lubin’s father, ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin of ConsenSys, remains involved in BlockApps to this day.

Concording to James-Lubin, the 20-person startup garnered “more than seven figures” in 2018 and expects to earn almost clone that amount in 2019 as production goes live. A source with knowledge of BlockApps financials, who asked to abide anonymous for legal reasons, said the startup also earned almost $2 million last year for the most part through licensing deals and a few consulting contracts.

Growth plans

Blockskye, a startup that manages inventory and tome within the travel industry, is one BlockApps client that has already transitioned beyond the proof-of-concept stage.

CEO Brook Armstrong acknowledged CoinDesk that BlockApps’ software has become “the ultimate backend” for order processing across roughly a dozen right away participating companies.

By leveraging an open system with multiple airlines and hotels, Armstrong said Blockskye is many times able to save more than $43 worth of distribution costs per ticket. He aims to expand this corporate network to thousands of pilgrimages companies by the end of 2021.

“We are focused on getting as much money on the blockchain as soon as possible,” Armstrong said.

Unlike many ConsenSys companies, BlockApps superficially avoids tokens and is open to offering software services beyond the scope of blockchain technologies.

“Blockchain is a tool and not the stopping-place,” James-Lubin said. “We describe ourselves as more of a business network company these days.”

ConsenSys ties

If BlockApps offerings a successful model for how other ConsenSys companies might spin out of the parent incubator, it also presents a harbinger of what the ConsenSys “web” could actually mean.

Lubin is still a significant shareholder, owning BlockApps equity the way he does for most ConsenSys startups, which has been a substance of contention for some. (ConsenSys did not respond to requests for comment and James-Lubin likewise declined.)

Although James-Lubin now considers his startup fully beyond from ConsenSys, he said his team interacts with ConsenSys on a weekly basis and shares mutual clients.

“They are on our directors. They provide a sounding board when we need help,” James-Lubin said, adding his startup is no longer a put of ConsenSys but has developed a “business partnership” collaborating on contracted projects with his father’s conglomerate.

BlockApps’ partners and consulting customers include some of the biggest names in the tech industry, such as Google and RedHat.

According to a ConsenSys spokesperson, so far BlockApps is one of nine startups to “revolution out” of the central venture studio, including the decentralized exchange AirSwap. The spokesperson said another dozen companies are contemplated to “spin out” of the Brooklyn-based studio in 2019.

Chemicals image via Shutterstock

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