Keychain – Unlocking Manufacturing for the World’s Leading Retailers and Brands

Keychain's proprietary, AI-powered platform helps retailers and brands find the perfect manufacturing partners.

Today’s supermarkets bear little resemblance to the ones our parents shopped at 50 years ago. Today, the average grocery store carries 300,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) – nearly eight times the number found on store shelves in the 1970s.

There are more products from more brands than ever. At the same time, supply chain disruptions have driven the consumer packaged goods (CPG) giants to seek greater redundancy and resiliency. Retailers are hoping to increase their margins by driving consumers to less expensive private-label products. And consumer loyalty is shifting to new niche offerings at the expense of legacy brands.

At the intersection of all of these trends lies the contract manufacturing industry. Contract manufacturers offer major CPGs greater flexibility in sourcing. They produce the vast majority of private-label and challenger brands. And they allow both new and established players to quickly produce new niche brands without significant capital investments.

But the way these deals get made hasn’t changed much over the last five decades. The industry still operates primarily via trade shows, handshakes, and word of mouth. Pricing, capabilities, and contracts continue to be opaque. There are no effective search options and no standardized workflows.

The retail industry has a massive need for a platform that allows each of the stakeholders to discover, evaluate, and monitor their relationships with each other. 

Enter Keychain. 

Keychain is building a manufacturing platform that brings greater organization, transparency, and network effects to all stakeholders. By unlocking billions of dollars in value through increased efficiency and productivity, it can transform how brands and manufacturers connect and work together.

At Lightspeed, we are big believers in the power of platforms and marketplaces to transform entire industries. As long-time backers of global marketplace startups like Faire (US), Vinted (Europe), Zetwerk (India), and others, we’re excited to be an early investor and supporter of Keychain’s mission to revolutionize the global supply chain, and to celebrate the official launch of their platform today.

Primed for disruption

The contract manufacturing (CM) industry is both huge and growing steadily. There are more than 30,000 CMs in the United States in the food and beverage category alone, and north of 100,000 globally. That sector is growing at nearly 10 percent per year and is projected to exceed $260 billion in revenue by 2030. Adding in other categories such as personal care products and cosmetics increases this number by an order of magnitude. 

CM is the norm for both large and small CPG brands. Three-quarters of all food and beverage companies partner with at least one CM, and nearly half work with up to 10 CMs. But complexity and the lack of transparency make establishing new working relationships a difficult and time-consuming process. Today, it takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months for a CPG brand to find and vet a new contract manufacturer. And as private label and challenger brands continue to absorb more of the CPG market, CMs will become an increasingly important part of the supply chain.

Keychain co-founders Oisin Hanrahan and Umang Dua identified a clear need for streamlining the matchmaking process between brands and CMs. Oisin and Umang’s vision is to revolutionize the manufacturing experience for all brands by optimizing their production processes, while simultaneously cutting costs and increasing profitability for their co-manufacturing partners who bring these products to life.

As the CPG industry shifts to smaller brands and private labels, who frequently become acquisition targets for global corporations defending their market share, the contract manufacturing market is in desperate need of disruption. Keychain is well positioned to bring much needed transparency and efficiency to transform how this industry operates on a global scale.

A dynamic duo

At Lightspeed we believe in backing founders who bring both a strong mission and a powerful sense of purpose; Oisin and Umang more than fit the bill. Over the last ten years we have witnessed first hand their drive and ambition. 

As co-founders of Handy, a home-services marketplace they later sold to Angi, Oisin and Umang bring an impressive track record to their newest startup. The experience of building Handy and then running ANGI Homeservices as CEO and CRO, respectively, has given them invaluable insights into operating online marketplaces.

When we heard about their vision for what has become Keychain, we knew we wanted to help this dynamic duo execute on their plans and aspirations.

We’re impressed by Keychain’s experienced team, including co-founder Jordan Weitz’s CPG experience, and believe they have an intimate understanding of the pain points facing this industry. And we’re super excited for the launch of the Keychain platform. Starting with a network of over 10,000 manufacturers, Keychain’s proprietary, AI-powered platform helps brands quickly find the perfect manufacturing partners. 

We can’t wait to see how Oisin and Umang change the CPG industry and beyond. If you’re a brand looking for new manufacturing partners, or a CM looking for brands, check out Keychain’s website for how this platform is helping solve some of the biggest supply chain pain points.

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