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Fighting wine fraud makes a good Cellr

Picture of Charlie Gunningham
Charlie Gunningham
// // Cellr has won an Advanced Manufacturing government grant to help commercialise its near field technology...

// Cellr has won an Advanced Manufacturing government grant to help commercialise its near field technology…

Globally, 20% of the world’s $350B wine market is counterfeit. Tackling this problem head on is local IoT startup Cellr, headed by Chris Braine and Mick Mickel.

Since graduating from Founder Institute a few years back, the team has been hard at work getting the product ready for market, helped in no small part by a recent $150K matching Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) grant.

The Managing Director of AMGC Jens Goennemann and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash were in town this week to congratulate the team for the development of their world-first technology (see main photo above).

The Cellr team set about creating a solution that simplifies producer verification, whilst also producing a direct to consumer engagement platform for wine and spirits.

Embedded in the bottle cap, a NFC (near field communication) chip allows producers and consumers to check the validity – or not – of the wine before it’s opened. Download the Cellr app, hold it by the bottle and hey presto.

Fighting wine fraud makes a good Cellr
The Cellr devices that have been developed using the AMGC funds

“By creating tech enabled lids that embed themselves directly into the bottling line, we will give wine producers a hands free solution for creating ‘digital birth certificates’ that can be re-surfaced by the consumer whenever, wherever…” said Chris.

“We genuinely take away the guessing game of a product’s legitimacy.”

Why bother?

Wine drinkers that care about the sustainable practices used by the vineyard, can simply scan the lid and deep dive into the available content produced by the winery.

Wine consumers looking to verify the wines to ensure they’re getting what they paid for can use the platform. Cellr connects them directly to all the track and trace information collected during the supply chain life of that individual bottle, plus whatever additional content the winery chooses to make available.

If a brand wants to launch a competition in a certain region, previously, they may have had to create custom codes, build a website, print custom packaging.

Fighting wine fraud makes a good Cellr
Chris Braine demonstrating the Cellr app and NFC cap technology to the media.

“Wine producers could even do a Willy Wonka style competition where one bottle has a ‘golden ticket’,” said Chris. “The options on where this technology can go are endless.”

Chris also has an eye on some other verticals.

“This technology could be rolled out into markets for honey, sandalwood and many others,” he said.

Big Steps

Whilst the engagement platform will be free for consumers, producers and the supply chain will pay a small price to unlock all the features and functionality these lids create. The list of features will be ever changing as the team at Cellr continue to grow the network with new producers from around the globe over time.

“The global supply chain will be able to utilise the advanced inventory management features to reduce manual effort via automated stock control,” said Mick Mickel, Director and co-founder.


MAIN PHOTO: Jens Goennemann (AMGC), Senator Michaelia Cash with Chris Braine (Cellr) at a press conference held at Castelli Wines, Myaree today.

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Chris Braine talking about Cellr and the SA-based FOMENT program he attended recently…

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Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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