COVID-19 was not the first disruption of the global food supply chain. In the European Union, there was also Brexit.
Kwayga, a start-up based in Cork, Ireland responded with what its CPO Mike McGrath describes as “the Tinder of supply chain technology.”
The intent, though, is to maintain a relationship-focus with new partners rather than encourage a one night-stand. The B2B supply chain solution for mid-sized businesses in the food industry is built around a business social network. Kwayga helps businesses keep track of updates and news in their existing supply chain and sector network while helping to increase these networks further.
“The supply chain industry is very reactive,” McGrath said in a recent interview. “There are many sectors that have not been deeply affected by the digital revolution and, I would say, that the supply chain industry is more of a follower than a first-mover. There have been some changes due to COVID, but it’s been more evolution than revolution and they are just embracing tools right now.”
The tool was founded by McGrath and business partner Martin Fitzgerald and developed with Chris Kennedy, a widely recognized online trust and identity vertification expert. That verification expertise has become central to Kwayga’s value proposition.
For McGrath, who has 15 years’ experience in sourcing and procurement roles, the tool presents the food supply chain industry with unique opportunities.
“We are democratizing trade by putting the right buyer with the right supplier at the right time, with the right tools to simplify trade,” says McGrath. “With Kwayga, businesses are able to trust, discover, verify, connect and match, communicate in any language, and trade successfully.”
Launched six weeks ago, the tool helps companies find new suppliers by taking on the tasks of due diligence.
“We are up to nearly 150 new buyers since launch and we have a data base of up to a 150,000 suppliers at the ready,” McGrath says. “We have validated the early stage MVP and, as we move forward, we are looking to expand to other industries.”
As the company reaches out to more buyers, heads of purchasing, heads of sales, McGrath acknowledges that keeping the tool clean and simple to use has been key.
“Simplicity was at the top of every white board activity we did,” he said. “The emphasis on user experience has been key. There are only 4 primary paths and functions on the website and that is absolutely by design.”
After 10 years of going to international trade shows and building business in an analog way, McGrath does not expect digital tools to completely replace the way things were before Brexit and the pandemic changed the food supply chain.
“A lot depends on the sector, and on changing the level of the relationships you’ve build that are quite traditional,” he said. “I think a lot of us are looking forwarding to getting back to the trade shows, walking around to talk to people and seeing all the new tools in one place.”