Entrepreneur Ollie Langridge and business partner Paula Nightingale are putting QR code tech to work in a new way to that of their previous business, with a new platform for combating export counterfeits.
Langridge, a former TV commercial director, and Nightingale's earlier businesses include Net Films - which produced video for web and mobile - and Set QR, offering branded QR codes for companies to use in their marketing.
Now the pair are creating a market for the codes among food exporters who need to track items to combat counterfeiting and see how and where consumers are buying their products.
Expander prints the code onto the packaging substrate, without altering it, or on a sticker that goes on the packaging. When the code is scanned offshore, exporters get real time information about customers and the ability to market to them.
"They can see who's engaging with their product, at what stage, and where are they being scanned and how many times, by what devices. [The exporter] can gain visibility at a very early stage and get a lot of data on where their product is going," Langridge says. "Every item down to unit level is trackable in our system."
Several exporters of food and neutraceuticals, sending product to Asia, Eastern Europe and Russia, have trialled the beta version of the platform, Langridge says. The company wants to add other participants to the trial to get more data and improve the accuracy of its algorithm.
Expander is rolling out two service tiers - the first for product tracking and the second to add marketing channels. Marketing options include links to videos and mobile websites with information about the product, the ability for consumers to view product scan history and verify its authenticity, and register to receive information if a company has issued a product recall.
An exporter could also use the system to market to customers via social media, competitions and vouchers, says Langridge.
Expander is a graduate of New Zealand's first accelerator Lightning Lab, based in Wellington. It secured $500,000 investment from angels in Wellington, including lead investor Susan Iorns, Dave Moskovitz and members of Wellington's Angel HQ. Iorns and Moskovitz were mentors at Lightning Lab.
The investment is being used to develop the IT platform and has allowed Expander to recruit a business development manager based in Auckland.