Keychain, a manufacturing platform, revealed it has raised $18 million in a seed funding round spearheaded by Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Keychain, utilizing artificial intelligence, aims to assist brands in identifying suitable manufacturing partners. The company was co-founded by Jordan Weitz, along with Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan. Dua and Hanrahan had previously established and managed Handy, a home services software firm, which was eventually acquired by Angi. Following the acquisition, they climbed the ranks at Angi, ultimately becoming the Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Executive Officer, respectively.
Motivated by the desire for a fresh venture, the team founded Keychain. Hanrahan highlighted that for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, the challenge often lies in locating the ideal manufacturing partner. These companies aspire to produce exceptional products, ranging from nutritious foods to high-quality cosmetics. However, as Hanrahan explained to TechCrunch, “the complexity of finding the best manufacturing partner can be a significant obstacle.”
Keychain is on a mission to drastically reduce the time it takes for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to find manufacturing partners, from months to mere days. “By streamlining this process, we believe we can catalyze product innovation across the industry, leading to healthier, more cost-effective products on store shelves,” Hanrahan explained. Currently, the CPG industry predominantly operates offline, relying heavily on trade shows and broker-mediated vetting. Keychain’s vision includes a central marketplace, connecting over 10,000 manufacturers with brands and retailers.
Presently operating on an invite-only basis, Keychain intends to open its doors to a select group of retailers and brands next year.
Hanrahan acknowledged the team’s good fortune in securing such a substantial seed funding in the current cautious investment climate. He attributes this success partly to their previous venture, Handy, sold in 2018, noting that their track record of a successful exit helped attract investor attention. “The funding round attracted more interest than we could accommodate,” he said.
David Tisch of BoxGroup, an early Handy investor who also backed Keychain, shared his enthusiasm with TechCrunch: “Having witnessed their strategic acumen and determination, I’m thrilled to collaborate with them once more.” Afore Capital and SV Angel were among other contributors to the round.
Looking forward, Keychain aims to support businesses throughout the entire manufacturing process, encompassing sourcing, onboarding, and compliance. However, their immediate focus is on successfully launching in Q1 2024. “Our current priority is to work closely with our early partners and manufacturers to make this product a reality,” Hanrahan stated.