London-based ChAI secures €1.54 million to use AI to forecast prices of raw materials

ChAI Founding Team

UK startup ChAI uses AI and machine learning to predict the price fluctuations of the world’s key raw materials, such as oil, aluminum, copper and others. The startup has announced that it has secured 1.54 million in seed financing from prominent investors to expand its team and boost its global expansion.

ChAI, founded in 2017, removes the pain and uncertainty of raw material price volatility. The team behind ChAI has worked for a combined 50 years in pricing and trading commodities, 20 years in AI including academia and commercial enterprises, 20 years in insurance and 10 years in AI-focused early-stage companies. 

ChAI is targeted at Fortune 100 companies that don’t depend on or trade in commodities as their primary business function, but they’re reliant on the price of commodities as part of their supply chain. This could be for example the price of oil for a shipping contractor or even a manufacturer which uses global freight to distribute its goods. Or a beverage and drinks conglomerate which relies on the price of aluminum to inform its purchasing decisions. 

The idea for the startup was first born when its founders realised that most suppliers only consider and model historical data sets, which takes time and can be too static. ChAI’s unique approach is to use AI technology to analyse diverse economic and alternative data. Unlike its competitors, ChAI does not just analyse market data, but also uniquely valuable data sets such as satellite imagery and maritime transport data. This enables businesses to plan and forecast more effectively and to be more resilient to market fluctuations.

After only 10 months after founding the business, ChAI raised this seed round from prominent venture capital investors Passion Capital, Dynamo Ventures, MMC Ventures along with prestigious angel investors. The team plans to use the new capital to expand its capabilities and already has four new team members joining this month, taking the total team size to 10.

ChAI Co-founder & CEO, Dr Tristan Fletcher, said, “At ChAI we’ve been tremendously encouraged by the near-instant and overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received to our methodology and predictions on commodities pricing. The inbound interest we’ve received for our “signals” and approach has been hugely validating and we look forward to introducing our services to many more companies in 2020. For this we’re excited to partner with such esteemed investors and business builders to progress our journey and take the company to the next level”.

Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital, said “It’s rare and always a privilege to come to work with a team that has such a unique range of skills ranging from leading academia to strong commercial acumen. We at Passion were immediately drawn to the fact that many large companies and enterprises which rely on commodities in their supply chain are unlikely to staff their own proprietary desks to predict or anticipate price volatility, but will look for innovative and more accurate forecasts in addition to historical-based models. We’re excited to work with the ChAI team and look forward to their continued success.”