Manufacturing platform Keychain has recently announced a significant milestone with the closure of an $18 million Seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. This financing will fuel Keychain’s mission to transform manufacturing partnerships through the application of artificial intelligence.
Founded by Jordan Weitz, along with Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan, Keychain’s leadership brings a wealth of experience, having previously co-founded and led the home software company Handy, which was later acquired by Angi. After successfully navigating their roles as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and CEO at Angi, the trio sought a new challenge, leading to the inception of Keychain.
The primary objective of Keychain is to leverage AI to assist brands in discovering optimal manufacturing partners. Hanrahan emphasized the critical challenge faced by consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies in finding suitable manufacturing collaborators. While these companies aspire to produce high-quality products, such as healthy food and premium cosmetics, the cumbersome process of identifying the right manufacturing partner often poses a significant hurdle.
Hanrahan shared his vision for Keychain, stating in a recent interview with TechCrunch, “If we can take that process from months down to days, we think we can unlock innovation in product development for this whole industry. That, in turn, will result in healthier, more affordable products on our store shelves.”
The current landscape of the CPG industry is predominantly offline, dominated by trade shows and vetting through brokers. Keychain aims to disrupt this model by establishing a marketplace at its core, connecting by over 10,000 manufacturers on one side with brands and retailers on the other side of their marketplace. Although the product is currently available on an invite-only basis, Keychain plans to open its platform to select retailers and brands in the coming year.
Hanrahan expressed gratitude for securing such a substantial seed round, attributing it to their previous entrepreneurial success with Handy. He noted that the round was far oversubscribed, highlighting investor confidence in the team’s strategic vision and tenacity.
Looking ahead, Keychain’s ambitions extend beyond facilitating manufacturing partnerships. The company aims to assist businesses throughout the entire manufacturing process, encompassing sourcing, onboarding, and compliance. However, the immediate focus is on the Q1 2024 launch, during which Keychain plans to collaborate closely with initial partners and manufacturers to bring their innovative product to life.
CPG startups and enterprise brands should take notes on Keychain, as this up & coming CPG manufacturing platform may just prove to be a huge value-added partner to the many CPG brands struggling to find the right product manufacturers to help create and deliver products at scale.