October 19, 2021

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Metal Commodity-Trading Startup Raises $33 Million

  • Open Mineral has created an eBay-like trading platform for copper, silver, and gold.
  • The Swiss startup has raised $33 million in fresh funding from UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala.
  • We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck it used to raise from investors.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A startup that wants to digitize the marketplace for metal commodities like copper, silver, and gold, has raised $33 million.

Switzerland-based Open Mineral aims to bring the trading process — which it says still largely relies on paper — online. The startup, which was set up by two former asset managers at the mining giant Glencore, says its system can disrupt the trading sector the way eBay did to retail.

Commodities are notoriously volatile. Open Mineral’s trade platform for base metal commodities, which enables metals and mining companies to buy and sell digitally, uses “proprietary pricing algorithms” to estimate the value of products based on real-time market conditions in a bid to make transactions more efficient and profitable.

The platform, which also provides insights and reporting, is free to use, but an account must be approved by the Open Mineral team. Once an account is approved, the person will be asked what materials they are interested in, prompting trade suggestions. Open Mineral charges a commission fee on each deal.

The cofounders, Ilya Chernilovskiy and Boris Eykher, who were both working in the sector when they had the idea for the company, hope this will help companies make better business decisions and speed up trades.

Open Mineral has grown slowly since its inception, but the industry is beginning to see its value. “At first, people were cautious, I would say,” Chernilovskiy told Insider. The industry has operated the same way for hundreds of years, he said, adding: “It’s a very large industry, very old fashioned.”

“We believe, in the 21st century, we can use more data, more analytics, so people start to come from cautious to interested. We still have a long way to convert a very significant part of the industry.”

Founded in 2017, the company has a London-based research team that publishes industry news, trends, price data, and current market terms based on the trades on its platform. 

The Series C was led by the Emirati sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company. Xploration Capital, which invests in digital-transformation companies; Emerald Technology Ventures, an industrial IT investor; Statkraft, which focuses on energy disruptors; and Lingfeng Capital, a fintech investor, also participated in the round. 

The fresh cash will be used to expand Open Mineral’s commercial team, develop the software further, and double down on data and analytics, the cofounders said. 

Chernilovskiy “abstained” from comparing Open Mineral to “the largest companies in the industry” but said: “We have not started this business to be small.”

He is, however, taking the raise as a vote of confidence. “This is a proof of the concept, proof of growth, and probably also proof of the potential of the company,” Chernilovskiy said. “We are excited.”

Scroll down to see the pitch deck Open Mineral used to raise the latest round.

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