The patented platform developed by Themis is designed to centralize, organize, and coordinate all elements of a traditional transaction, facilitating risk-free exchanges of raw materials and basic products for all involved parties
The importance of commodities has become even more apparent in recent months, influenced by the war in Ukraine and the resulting geopolitical crisis. It is through commodities that companies can continue to produce and ensure that consumers have access to a wide range of goods and services. Themis S.r.l., a company born with the aim of managing the exchange of commodities in an integrated and digitized manner, has made its initial foray into the agricultural commodities sector
Buyers, sellers, brokers, and transporters can conduct transactions without direct interaction, thanks to an automated system that minimizes transaction costs. Buyers can access various price quotations based on quality and payment methods, as well as dedicated fintech services for B2B credit.
Themis was founded by two individuals under the age of 30: Graziano Beldrighi, a 29-year-old from Brescia and CEO of Themis, and Matteo Molinari, a 28-year-old COO from Mantua. Beldrighi, with over 10 years of experience in the Italian agri-food sector, has worked as a product manager for major animal feed companies. He is the co-founder of three innovative companies and the owner of a raw material brokerage firm. Molinari, who holds a law degree from Bocconi University, studied at the University of California and the University of Kobe in Japan. He has worked as a project manager for a Japanese startup in Tokyo (BtoTree) and in a securitization law firm in London.
"The birth of Themis came about through a completely chance encounter" Graziano Beldrighi - CEO
"During this encounter, we shared our very different professional experiences—one in technology and the other in operations/commerce—and realized that applying technology to a predominantly analog sector presented an incredible opportunity. From that moment on, everything naturally evolved through continuous and constant problem-solving discussions, approaching each market challenge with innovation and technology."
The Elements that Define Themis:
The success of the Themis platform is driven by three critical elements that generally face shortcomings in the industry: logistics, financial services, and quality control. Transport, especially in these challenging times, is perhaps the most crucial aspect of commodity trading. Unlike other industries, there are no major players in the commodities trade—only numerous small transporters or freight forwarders that are difficult to coordinate.
"The logistics issues are highly diverse and vary based on the specific mode of transportation (ship, train, or truck)," explain Beldrighi and Molinari. "In the case of truck transportation, which is the most important and widely used, the biggest challenge for cereals, for example, is the type of trailer."
Most traded products are transported either packaged or in bulk. Packaged products, typically processed or industrially manufactured, are transported using curtain-sided semi-trailers, which can only carry palletized goods. Industrialized countries export these types of products.
"The curtain-sided trailer," explain the founders, "leaves, for example, from the industrialized country (e.g., Italy) and arrives in the importing country (e.g., Romania) with packaged products (pasta, clothing, etc.). However, very few packaged products are produced in the importing country (e.g., Romania) for export to Italy. Therefore, the trailer almost certainly returns empty, resulting in increased costs."
To address transportation challenges, Themis exclusively utilizes technology developed by co-founder Graziano Beldrighi, known as Flexinbulk. This innovative system involves a patented, fully collapsible and tilting mechanism that allows a standard curtain-sided trailer to transport any product, whether bulk or packaged. This solution solves the scarcity of return trips that consistently plagues the market. By connecting curtain-sided trailers, which are widely used, with return trips carrying bulk goods (currently scarce), this system maximizes efficiency.
Results and the Future of Themis:
Themis began operating in August 2021 with an Alpha version of its platform and has experienced exponential growth in a short period. Revenue in 2022 (as of September) has increased by 1000%, with an estimated annual growth rate of no less than 1300%. This success has been bolstered by a significant industrial investor who participated in Themis' first seed round in May.
In less than a year of operation, the company has opened its first branch in Romania. Two additional branches in Poland and Ukraine will be opened by the end of the year. Themis also operates through its affiliated brokers in Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Moldova, and Switzerland.
Themis has been admitted to the Global Startup Program organized by the Italian Trade Agency (ICE), which selects the best Italian startups for acceleration programs offered by prominent accelerators worldwide. Specifically, Themis was chosen by the Roundtable Entrepreneur Accelerator (REA), considered the most important accelerator in New York. Themis will also have the opportunity to establish its own subsidiary in the United States.
"Our exponential growth, even in the testing phase, compels us to structure and focus our efforts on creating a product that offers a qualitatively perfect user experience and service," state the founders of Themis. "Therefore, our goal until the end of the year will be to refine the Beta version of the platform with selected players. We do not intend to open it immediately due to the overwhelming expressions of interest we have received." To achieve this, they conclude, "we need to strengthen our team and expand further into multiple markets for diversification. We are confident that our experience in the United States will open up new opportunities, not only in terms of new suppliers but also potential customers and diversification of imported commodities."