USA – ZX Ventures, the venture capital arm of the global beer company AB InBev has invested in in Minnesota-based BanQu, a blockchain startup in its Series A funding round.

Founded in 2015, BanQu, Inc. operates a blockchain economic identity technology platform and network that help lift people out of extreme poverty by connecting them to the global supply chains including brands, organizations, and governments.

The new funding will help propel the company operations into new markets such as Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The platform currently operates in 12 countries including Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malawi, Somalia, South Africa, Syria, Uganda, United States, and Zambia.

It expects to launch in China and Mexico later this year.

“AB-InBev has been an incredible partner to BanQu over the past year, and together we have innovated and scaled the BanQu platform across multiple countries and thousands of farmers,” said BanQu Co-Founder and CEO Ashish Gadnis.

“Farmers at the world’s “last mile,” traditionally excluded from the global economy and lacking a verifiable economic identity, are now visible, financially empowered, and connected in the global supply chain of AB InBev.

“The ZX investment takes this partnership to a whole new level of commitment on both sides.

It cements our core shared vision of making the world a better place while being good business stewards.”

According to the company, the deal opens up new opportunities for BanQu to do business with FMCG companies looking to build profit and purpose across their supply chains while ensuring UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved.

The company aims to further expand its popular “track and trace” feature to AB InBev’s recycling, crop insurance, while building micro-retailer eco-systems and true circular economies.

The partnership with AB InBev was first announced in August 2018 after BanQu launched a successful pilot project in Zambia, benefiting over 2,000 of the region’s small-holder cassava farmers.

Successive roll outs in Uganda and India have since ensued, making Brazil the fourth market where BanQu will assist AB InBev in reaching the global brewer’s 2025 sustainability goals.

“Together, we are working to improve access to modern banking for thousands of farmers in underserved rural markets, driving inclusive growth and contributing to our own 2025 Sustainability Goal as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” said Tony Milikin, Chief Sustainability and Procurement Officer at AB InBev.