Debenhams’ retail tech provider secures £2m from Octopus to fight modern slavery

Segura Systems, the retail technology provider of Debenhams, has received a £2m Series A investment from VC firm Octopus Ventures to fight modern slavery and encourage ethical supply chains.

The Modern Slavery Act was updated in October, stating that firms with an annual global turnover of £36m or more will need to state on company websites how labour exploitation is being prevented, while failure to do so could result in large fines.

British firm Segura Systems looks to encourage usage of ethical supply chains, delivering transparency to retail partners such as Debenhams and Reiss. Its cloud-based service produces a trail of audits so that all purchases, including those from direct and extended suppliers, can be accounted for.

The £2m received from Octopus Ventures will allow the company to enhance its technology in attempt to deliver supply chain insights across more sectors.

Coinciding with the updated Act, Kevin Hyland was appointed by the government as its first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

“I have seen first hand how modern slavery can devastate lives and rid people of their dignity and humanity,” he said at the time.

“I am proud to take up this position to work in the interests of these brave victims and to prevent more people becoming victims in the first place. I look forward to beginning this important work.”

His duties include working with law enforcement bodies and local authorities to “encourage good practice in the identification of victims and the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of modern slavery crimes”.

Octopus’ Malcolm Ferguson highlighted the increasing challenge that companies face to have complete visibility on its supply chains and described it as “astonishingly complex”.

Read more on Octopus Ventures:

Peter Needle, CEO and co-founder of Segura Systems, said: “In recent years consumers have begun to ask more of their retailers – people want to know that the goods they’re buying have been ethically and responsibly produced.

“There has also been a clear and necessary realisation that modern slavery is a real issue, posing both a severe supply chain and wider ethical risk, and we certainly welcome the government’s commitment to tackling these issues.

“Today’s funding will allow us to further develop the cloud-based Segura Systems technology and expand our team, so we can work with more businesses and organisations, helping protect them from unethical, non-compliant and uncompetitive suppliers.”

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Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications. He has developed contacts at a variety of businesses, from startup to household names, new entrepreneurs to well-known, including Facebook, The Body Coach, Dragons' Den, Candy Kittens, TOWIE, Gousto, Love Home Swap and HotelTonight


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