Sparta, a startup that provides live market intelligence and forecasting insight for commodity traders, has announced a series A funding round of $17.5 million. The funding round was led by technology venture capital firm FirstMark, alongside existing shareholder Singular.
The startup has built a platform that aims to transform the way traders gather, process, analyze and interpret data to inform strategic decision-making in real-time.
The platform uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and data science to capture non-liquid prices, such as physical premiums, OTC swaps, and freight, from brokers and pricing analysts around the world. It then processes them into forward-looking insights and predictive analytics that enable traders to spot trading opportunities before their competition.
“Our key objective is to participate or be one of the main drivers in the transformation of how commodities are traded,” said Felipe Elink Schuurman, co-founder and CEO of Sparta, in a recent interview with VentureBeat. “Moving it from an antiquated, merchant type trading to a much more sophisticated data-driven, and intelligence-driven going forward environment.”
The company plans to use the new funding to expand its product offerings beyond its current focus to oil and gas products, such as gasoline, diesel, jet and NAFTA.
The company intends to cover every product in the oil and gas sector by the end of next year. It then plans to enter other commodity markets, such as agriculture and metals. The company also plans to develop premium insights, optimize workflow processes and develop AI tools that can provide forward-looking predictions and reports.
The company also wants to grow its global presence. Currently located in Geneva, London, Houston, Singapore and Madrid, Sparta plans to expand its presence within these existing territories, as well as establish a foothold in new regions. The company has more than 70 customers globally, including Phillips 66, Chevron, Trafigura, Equinor and more.
Sparta’s predictive pricing engine and market opinion layer aim to give traders a competitive edge by providing accurate and timely information. Schuurman predicts that the speed and accuracy of the information Sparta provides will be so vital to trading that not having it would put traders at a competitive disadvantage.
As Sparta continues to revolutionize the commodity trading industry, it has its sights set on connecting predictive pricing, market opinion and news. “Imagine that all of these things are linked, and you can immediately see how future news will impact prices,” Schuurman told VentureBeat. “It’s going to be fascinating what will happen over the next five years, in terms of that enablement, that co-pilot side of assisting people in making those trading decisions.”
Sparta’s ambition to transform the commodity trading industry using AI signifies a major shift in how businesses approach decision-making. As AI continues to evolve and become more integrated into various industries, companies such as Sparta remain at the forefront, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and setting new standards for the future of trading.