Investment

Blockchain ledger and geospatial data platforms backed by UK family office

Tom Singh, founder of UK fashion chain New Look, has backed a new funding round for blockchain technology specialist Finboot which has the potential to revolutionise the way supply chains are managed.

Singh, probably either through one of his investment vehicles Rianta Capital or the Singh Family Trusts, was lead investor in Finboot at its inception back in 2018. Now he is investing in a £2.4 million fundraiser along with Spanish oil giant Repsol and the Development Bank of Wales.

Singh built up New Look in 1969 from a single store in Taunton, with support from his family. He was a pioneer of fast fashion, using manufacturers in London’s East End to turn out garments at a competitive price, fully aware of the importance of an efficient supply chain and ready access to finance. 

Over the years, rival retailers, led by Zara’s owner Inditex, raised their game. In common with most retailers, New Look has lately been hit by difficult trading conditions. Singh retired from its board in 2019.

Rianta Capital invests in retail, real estate and private equity. It is an active social impact investor and philanthropist, helping marginalised communities in South Asia. 

Operating from offices in the UK and Spain, Finboot is establishing a reputation as one of Europe’s more promising blockchain groups. It sets out to help companies use blockchain ledgers to record their operations through a system called Marco.

Because blockchain records are timely, and unique, companies can use them to show they are fully complying with regulators and governance requirements.  

This service has become relevant, as a result of tougher ESG standards. The pandemic has also led to the digitalisation of supply chains which require surveillance.  Repsol has been involved with Finboot since 2017. Its other clients include chemicals group Stahl and Congol minerals trader Minexx. Clothes retailers can also benefit.

Elsewhere, Singh has teamed up with Andrew Xeni to back Tamoco, a specialist in geospatial data which helps businesses learn the location of providers and their products. 

He has backed Fabacus which wants to help suppliers make their supply chains more efficient. He has advised, and backed, new retail outfits including an upmarket clothes rental business and fashion outlets. No one should write him off. 

Tom Singh is also an adviser to venture capital providers Magenta Partners. It has just backed Voly,  which provides payments solutions for clients of the yachting industry, including family offices. It has been backed by former tennis professional Ian Flanagan. 

Earlier this year Magenta invested in a supplier of high-end guitars led by blues guitarist Robert Montague and his son Ben.

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