McDonough School of Business
McDonough School of Business
Alexander Barrett (EMBA'17) at a local coffee farm in Columbia
News Story

Georgetown McDonough Alumnus Creates a Transparent Supply Chain for Coffee with ifinca

A trip to a rural area of Colombia led Alexander Barrett (EMBA’17) to launch his latest business venture, ifinca, a technology services company that uses patent-pending technology to create transparent supply chains from bean to cup.

Founded in 2019, ifinca is the first company to offer verified farm-gate prices and real-time delivery data from the farmer rather than the intermediaries. Its technology independently traces the entire supply chain, from the individual farmer to the consumer. The system uses encrypted QR codes, verification monitoring, and data security. It collects and reports businesses’ environmental, social, and governance compliance requirements, which clients can share. Additionally, with ifinca’s “Meet the Farmer” QR code, coffee retailers can introduce the coffee farmer to consumers.

“One of the major issues in supply chains is a lack of verification from the farmers,” said Barrett. “The ifinca platform connects farmers as equal stakeholders in the process, which is different from our competitors.” 

Barrett’s interest in entrepreneurship started before his time at Georgetown, and he continued to grow as a student. Prior to attending McDonough’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program in 2015, he owned 38 Spatial, a company that uses innovative strategies to provide applicable real estate and architecture solutions in Napa Valley, California.

Barrett said his time at McDonough was filled with growth, learning, and a powerful network. Georgetown, he said, equipped him with connections and high-level conversations that paved the path for ifinca.

“I remember my first time at a coffee farm,” said Barrett. “Because I had recently finished my studies at Georgetown, I was curious about how coffee farmers set their prices and if they had market information.” 

The opportunity to engage with local Colombian farmers immediately set the long-term vision for ifinca. When Barrett met one of his co-founders, who had been a local farmer in Colombia, he immediately realized the significance and opportunity around promoting transparency of real-time data that connects farmers to consumers. Today, ifinca is able to connect farmers to information about the product’s origins, harvesting details, and sustainability outcomes. This information helps to ensure farmers have equal stakeholder status in the coffee supply chain.

Moreover, Barrett’s desire to help others is a driving force behind ifinca. 

“We empower farmers with key information and knowledge that helps them better advocate for themselves and their product,” said Barrett.

After six years in Colombia, Barrett has returned to his Hoya roots as a member of Georgetown Entrepreneurship’s Venture Lab, the school’s hub for entrepreneurial alumni located in downtown Washington, D.C. 

Jeff Reid, founding director of Georgetown Entrepreneurship, is thrilled to have Barrett back at Georgetown in this new and exciting capacity. 

“Alexander Barrett is a testament to what is possible when you use innovation and entrepreneurship to serve the common good,” said Reid. “We are grateful for his ongoing expertise and mentorship of our students, and we are happy to welcome him back to the Venture Lab to grow and scale his important new venture.” 

At the Venture Lab, Barrett has found a supportive community that has contributed to his growth, ifinca’s success, and reinforced his desire to serve others through business opportunities.

“I knew the network at Georgetown is amazing. When I came back to D.C., I was excited and surprised by the connections at the Venture Lab, too,” said Barrett. “The people I engage with daily are significant players who offer support. It is a valuable experience. We are always bouncing ideas off of one another.” 

As for what’s next, Barrett hopes to increase market share and expand into other agricultural markets.