Focus on OPIC Impact Award winner: QuantumID Technologies
OPIC understands that American small businesses can play a critical role in the global economy, and the Agency actively reaches out to small businesses around the country. As a result, well over half the new development projects to which OPIC commits each involve an American small or medium business.
The OPIC Impact Award in the American Small Business category recognizes the important work of small businesses in advancing development. This year, OPIC presented the award to QuantumID Technologies Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts business that developed a technology that is helping make cargo transport in the developing world more affordable and more efficient.
While Quantum offers an example of how small businesses are often the source of innovation, its story also illustrates the support these small businesses often need when working in emerging markets. Back in 2010 QuantumID, was a startup formed by a recent graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Business, which had developed a promising cloud-based technology to make shipping cargo more affordable and reliable.
At the time, Quantum’s SmartKargo technology had already won business school competitions, but as a young startup interested in introducing its technology in the developing world, it struggled to obtain traditional financing. The business used a $3 million loan from OPIC to bring its technology in India. By making cargo shipments more affordable, QuantumID has supported small businesses in India that often have limited resources.
In the five years since OPIC initially partnered with QuantumID, the company has formed partnerships with multiple international air carriers, including Norwegian Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and India’s Spice Jet, creating a network that is supporting international freight shipments across multiple carriers, as well as cargo shipments in passenger jets. As more travelers decline cag check fees and opt to carry on their luggage, airlines are seeing more unused cargo space. By offering businesses a more reliable way to move cargo on commercial planes, the SmartKargo technology helps lower the cost of shipment.
During the July 7 OPIC Impact Awards for excellence in development, QuantumID founder and CEO Milind Tavshikar spoke about the ways OPIC had supported this young business.
The growing demand for this technology has helped build QuantumID into a thriving growing business that employs more than 150 people in India as well as 15 in its Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters. That initial loan has been fully repaid and QuantumID is now using a second OPIC loan to expand and introduce the technology in The Philippines.