There is a growing curiosity in the commodities industry about data that comes from developing countries, especially China. Thus, many in the space are looking at opting for geospatial data to ascertain the information and to ensure that companies are not slipping off or fabricating input-output or emission levels as well. Such information may help institutions to detect any fraud in input, outcome and reporting.
There are not many options available today for overall commodity data and that is where a geospatial analytics company, Tathya, comes into play. This lean company, which was incubated at NITI Aayog- Atal Innovation mission (AIC) programme, is run by a team of six. This start-up has plans to expand their workforce in research and development and grow their team futher.
The founding members of the company are Gunjan Thakuria (CEO), Naresh Palaiya (CTO), Himangshu Das (CBO), Nikit Shrungarpawar (COO), and Rajan Chauhan (SDE). The company even has a Hong Kong-based strategic investor who was a former Executive Director with Noble Group and Managing Director of Caravel Group. It was founded in the year 2019.
At present, the company is opening a sales and marketing office in Singapore. Shrungarpawar said, “We are in talks with many investors. It will take another quarter to raise funds. So, wherever the next investor is based we will be opening an office there.” The company is engaging with investors from London, United States and India. “We had approached the same investors who during the seed funding round were interested in the company. However, they wanted to invest after we on-boarded some clients.” Today, the company has a London-based client and another one is a research house in India. Initially, having around 5-10 regular clients will be good enough, shared Shrungarpawar. The clientele can expand further based on the company’s expansion plan. “There is an interest from US companies too. They want us to track the steel companies in the US as well as data from Turkey and Mexico. But we are currently tracking the Asian market. But we can track that market if we expand our team.”
As the company is not into a cash burning business, Shrungarpawar explained that the company can survive for another one year without funding. “We have raised USD 350,000 (Rs 2.53 crore) during the seed funding round, we plan to raise USD 5 million (Rs 3.62) in the next round. This will help us stay afloat for another two years, because we will need to expand our team. Thus, we are raising funds.”
The company was in touch with many investors for seed funding, revealed Shrungarpawar. However, only the deep-technology investors understood the concept but they still wanted validation. This is mainly because in India there is hardly any commodity trading. It is limited to agriculture and gold, explained Shrungarpawar.
But today the company can serve any client with data from any part of the world with 80 per cent accuracy. Most of this input data which Tathya has access to is free data. But if needed the company may look at paid form of satellite data or even launch its own satellite. “Why do we let anyone control our input data? If we have to pay for satellite data we would rather invest in a satellite itself. But all this is for a later stage of growth.” For time being the focus in developing the right product to cater to market requirements.
Initially, Tathya looked at oil, soon to realise that they are looking at the market which is served. The founders were clear that they would like to serve the area which is underserved. The company is using geospatial analytics to develop products to track commodities, predominantly metal. “We are tracking iron ore which is the second largest-traded company after oil. We are entering into other commodities like copper, aluminium as well as tracking fossil fuel emissions,” informed Shrungarpawar. The company wants to expand one commodity at a time. “We do not want to just launch a product and move on to another. We would like to stabilise the operations of one product and then more to another.” After iron ore/ steel companies, there is a huge demand for data for commodities like copper and coal.
The clients overseas want to look at multiple commodities at the same time. Shrungarpawar reasoned, “When we spoke to hedge funds predominantly based in London and the United States, they said iron ore is alright but in commodity cycles we will like to look at copper, aluminium, and steel-iron ore together.”