SharpEnd has signed a strategic partnership for an undisclosed sum with Guala Closures Group, a manufacturer of closures for spirits and wine, and a specialist in connected bottle caps.
The deal consists of the initial acquisition of 20% of shares of SharpEnd by Guala Closures, with potential for further capital injections in the company. Guala Closures will remain a minority investor while Cameron Worth, SharpEnd’s founder and current sole shareholder, will retain the majority of the company’s shares.
Guala Closures is a pioneer in connected closures with its NeSTGATE proprietary technology, enabling industrial use in supply chain management as well as consumer engagement programmes.
Founded in 2015 Internet of Things (IoT) agency, SharpEnd is known for being a pioneering creative technology partner with an appetite to push the boundaries of consumer engagement with a global client list including AB-InBev, PepsiCo, Nestle, Unilever and Pernod Ricard. This partnership enables SharpEnd to continue this journey and accelerate its growth strategy through Guala Closures’ backing.
SharpEnd and Guala Closures already have a consolidated relationship based on their work together on NFC enabled closures. Most recently, they partnered with Californian wine brand Boen, the first United States wine brand to deploy NeSTGATE NFC technology. By simply tapping the cap with their smartphones, consumers are taken to an interactive farmhouse with a range of content experiences.
Guala Closures’ investment in a strategic partner follows its intent to provide turnkey solutions to customers by becoming a technology integrator of connected packaging solutions. SharpEnd will scale up the development of its IoT software platform to be implemented by GCL’s clients, extending to supply chain management, stock management, theft prevention and ultimately product security, anti-tampering and forgery prevention.
Paolo Ferrari, Guala Closures group chief marketing officer and M&A director, says: “SharpEnd’s expertise will allow us to accelerate our Internet of Closures strategy development to help our clients provide better brand experiences to their consumers via the most advanced digital marketing solutions, turning data into valuable consumer insights.”
Asked by IoT Now, what initially attracted Guala to invest in SharpEnd, Ferrari says: ”Before the investment was discussed, SharpEnd has delivered successful projects (ie connected closure sales) as part of our combined proposition of creativity and hardware. This the first external investment in SharpEnd.”
Cameron Worth, CEO and founder of SharpEnd, adds: “The partnership with, and growth capital from, our friends at Guala Closures gives us access to their vast R&D (research & development) facilities and accelerates everything we are doing across creative technology and data in key verticals such as fashion, FMCG, spirits and cosmetics.”
IoT Now understands that with the entrance of Guala Closures in the share capital of SharpEnd, the board of the UK company will have five directors, three selected by Cameron Worth and two by Guala Closures.