Manufacturing platform Keychain announced an $18 million seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners this morning.
Keychain seeks to use artificial intelligence to help brands find manufacturing partners. It was founded by Jordan Weitz, alongside Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan, who previously co-founded and ran the home software company Handy together, which was later told to Angi. The duo then worked their way up the career ladder at Angi, becoming the CRO and CEO, respectively.
The group decided it was time for a new challenge and set their eyes on starting a new company: Keychain. Hanrahan said that finding the right manufacturing partner is a big issue for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. They want to create great products like healthy food and high-quality cosmetics, “but the process of finding the best manufacturing partner often gets in the way,” he told TechCrunch.
“If we can take that process from months down to days, we think we can unlock innovation in product development for this whole industry. That, in turn, will result in healthier, more affordable products on our store shelves.” Right now, the CPG industry operates largely offline and is dominated by trade shows and vetting via brokers. Keychain aims to have a marketplace at its core to match “over 10,000 manufacturers on one side with brands and retailers on the other,” Hanrahan said.
The product is invite-only but plans to open to select retailers and brands next year.
Hanrahan said he and his co-founders were “really fortunate” to raise such a seed round in today’s more conservative funding environment. He said they sold Handy in 2018, and being founders with a previous exit helped gather investor interest. “The round was far oversubscribed.”
David Tisch, a partner at BoxGroup, was an early investor in Handy and also invested in Keychain. “There are few entrepreneurs I’ve seen who are as strategic and tenacious,” he told TechCrunch. “I’m excited to work with them again.” Afore Capital and SV Angel also participated in the round.
Next, the company wants to expand to help businesses with the entire manufacturing process, including sourcing, onboarding and compliance. But they’ve got to get through their Q1 2024 launch first. “We’re laser-focused on working with our first few partners and manufacturers to bring this product to life.”
This story was updated to clarify that Dua and Hanrahan founded Handy together.