In the AI Startup of the Week, the editorial staff of ai.nl is featuring promising AI startups, their innovations, solutions, and challenges. In this eighth episode, we are taking a look at Amsterdam-based Vesper, a startup building the most comprehensive and user-friendly commodity intelligence platform.
Commodity markets have exhibited significant price volatility at various times and unanticipated changes in demand or supply has led to significant price swings. For a commodity trader, it is not always easier to keep track of every small change in a commodity price or external factors affecting that price.
With artificial intelligence (AI), it is possible to deliver commodity intelligence unlike any out there. Amsterdam-based Vesper aims to do that with its unique platform that combines AI, mathematics, and computer science. With commodities transforming on a global scale, Vesper believes that a volatile market should not keep the trader guessing.
A unified commodity intelligence platform
Vesper is an AI-driven tool that gathers and analyses data from over a hundred paid and free resources. It also gathers data from proprietary data sources and covers production, consumption, weather, import, export, supply, demand, among other parameters. Vesper’s platform tracks all these data points 24/7 to deliver “live forecasting, market updates, prices, analytics, and knowledge.”
In terms of products, Vesper offers a dashboard with custom workspaces that acts as a user-friendly hub of information, providing real-time data ranging from pricing and production to import/export, supply/demand, and stock levels. This dashboard is capable of over 300 data updates every 24 hours with 45 per cent less time wasted with collecting data and 90 per cent accurate forecasting by AI and machine learning.
It also offers a calculation page that offers pre-set formulas with production costs integrated to easily understand pricing models in the market. The platform also offers real-time view of the EEX and NZX futures with a digestible representation of each stock exchange. It also uses data science with AI to complement traditional forecasting with an informed tech-driven forecasting.
The last piece in Vesper’s product portfolio is a market analytics tool that offers valuable insights into local and global market trends. With this analytics tool, commodity traders can find the complexity of commodity trading simplified into informative market analysis reports with Vesper highlights and collaborations.
Solarec uses Vesper’s data platform to deliver value for its farmers
Solarec, a subsidiary of the Laiterie des Ardennes cooperative, processes more than 900 million litres of milk each year. Solarec collects the milk from its farmers and then follows procedures meeting the highest quality standards to convert it into various useful products. In order to deliver best value to its farmers, Solarec relies on Vesper.
Geoffrey Paulus, Sales Director at Solarec, says that the company processes around 1.5 billion litres of milk, around 1,00,000 tonnes of powders, 50,000 tonnes of butter, and 220 million litres of UHT Milk. It is also adding a capacity of 32,000 tonnes of mozzarella per year. With such a wide variety of products, Paulus believes that Solarec needs to be reactive in the market with its pricing.
To get best value for its farmers, Solarec relies on Vesper’s data-driven platform to adjust the pricing almost every day. “Searching for hours and taking care of your customers at the same time is not doable. That’s why a platform like Vesper, where you have all the information in one overview, comes in handy,” he says.
Challenge pricing and reducing costs
At Africa Improved Foods, Jean Claude Hakizimana is using Vesper as a reliable source of information to challenge pricing and reduce cost. Jean Claude Hakizimana is a sourcing analyst at Africa Improved Foods, a food manufacturing company based in Rwanda. As a sourcing analyst, Hakizimana is the single source of truth for market insights and pricing for several ingredients used by the company.
Hakizimana uses Vesper to gain reliable information, specifically on skimmed milk powder. In contrast to Paulus, Hakizimana uses Vesper as a negotiation tool. With Europe as its main source for SMP, the company gets different quotations from different suppliers. With Vesper able to cover European market price information, the Rwanda-based food manufacturing company is able to ask for spot price.
Like many other users, Hakizimana also keeps Vesper always open and prefers to start the day by looking at the futures data. “As an analyst we also need to look at other factors that influence the price – the good thing about Vesper is that they not only provide prices, they also report production, supply and demand which are huge price determinants,” Hakizimana adds.
A tool for the dairy and food processing industry
Vesper has grown to become a must have tool for the dairy and food processing industry. For the dairy industry, it offers the latest dairy prices through the Vesper Price Index or by looking at the Global Commodity Prices Chart on the Vesper dashboard. The index offers the latest dairy market prices for a range of categories including cheeses, commodities, ingredients, liquids, and milk components.
In addition to real-time price, the dashboard also offers a dairy price forecast, dairy calculations page to calculate the milk price based on different commodities, dairy trends, and dairy news. It offers a similar tool for vegetable oil that serves the food processing industry.
The biggest advantage of AI is its ability to take the data and plug the gap that we didn’t know existed. Vesper is doing the same for the commodity market by combining AI with mathematics and data science to offer a platform that offers holistic commodity markets data and allows companies to monitor and track their pricing to deliver best value for their suppliers as well as consumers.