Retail marketing startup Shping launches $46 million ICO after raising millions in its pre-sale


Shping’s chief marketing officer Tony Lee. Source: Supplied

Melbourne-based retail and consumer marketing startup Shping has today launched its initial coin offering (ICO), hoping to raise a whopping $46 million through the sale of its Shping Coin.

The startup offers a blockchain-based solution for both consumers and marketers, allowing shoppers to download its app and scan a product’s barcode. This reveals a range of information about the product including its origin, nutritional information, and ingredients. Marketers can also choose to show users additional materials like videos and fact sheets to further entice consumers into buying the product.

Consumers who interact with the products through the app – by uploading reviews or watching the videos – are then rewarded with the company’s Shping coin by the brands themselves, forming a way for companies to receive feedback, and also feeding the liquidity of the Shping ecosystem.

Shping started its life in 2012 as a startup called AuthenticateIt, which aimed to offer a supply chain tracking service for consumers to verify product’s authenticity. However, the company pivoted to a blockchain focus in 2016, realigning itself to what chief marketing officer and co-founder Tony Lee says is a more “grandiose” vision.

“We’re looking to make a paradigm shift in terms of what we enable marketers to do. We’re building the biggest product database available through both the app and on the blockchain, which can be used to help encourage purchase decisions at the point of sale,” Lee told StartupSmart.

The company closed a $3.7 million presale earlier this month, which hit its hard cap five days early and surprised the founders. Lee said the pre-sale “our expectations were exceeded” and the team was very hopeful for the public sale.

That public sale kicks off today, hoping to raise $US37 million ($46 million) over the course of a month, offering investors access to five billion tokens, priced at US0.01 cents each with various staggered bonuses for buyers during of the sale.

If the full raise amount is filled, Shping would be one of Australia’s largest initial coin offerings, beating out the likes of Power Ledger and CanYa. It would also place the company in the upper echelons of capital raises for startups in Australia this year, which, according to Lee, is likely with “how the traction is playing out currently”.

“For that amount of funds we’ve got ambitious expansion plans for offices in Australia, New Zealand, China, Russia, India, and the UK,” Lee told StartupSmart.

“We know that if Shping is going to be that paradigm shifting platform it will require a lot of promotion to get customers and brands onboarded.”

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