Tradecloud, the digital metals trading platform set up by former Trafigura senior executives Simon Collins and Matthew Botell, will launch in September with a desire to simplify buying and selling commodities central to the company, they told Metal Bulletin in an interview.

The platform, which will seek to give companies on all sides of the metals market the ability to trade and access an overview of global business in one place, will open on September 25, a year after its initial genesis.

The launch comes as a wave of digital platforms targeting transparency and efficiency are appearing, with ambitions to break into the metals trade as the annual “mating season” kicks off in October. But while some promise to change the rules of the game, Tradecloud is focused on facilitating deals.

“A lot of people use the phrase ‘disruptive’. This is anything but: we are trying to make things easier, not just for producers, not just consumers, but for traders as well. We’re trying to connect people and make them organised and still be very commercial,” Botell said.

The build-up has been quick and extensive, under the direction of the four founders, which also include Mark Cheong as cfo and Justin Wilson as cio.

Armenia-based software provider Volo is behind the development. In order to facilitate a product that is conducive for trading, the developers were given a crash course in the business, roleplaying as buyers and sellers of different metals.

“It’s very important that people building the platform actually understand the business. [Through] these roleplaying games they get a good sense of different freights, QPs [and] finance costs… they’ve really bought into the process of helping this industry,” Botell said.

A key aspect of the Tradecloud platform will be visibility of conversations between companies conducting business with each other and discussions in sales teams, negotiations, bids, offers and deals, organised into one place through a chat function.

“What we’re trying to do is provide a communication tool, because at the moment there are various ways and it’s very difficult to actually have any form of control – inevitably there’s a lot of double typing,” Botell said.

It also allows sales campaigns with multiple sales and marketing personnel to be managed centrally, Botell said, adding that filing records should help with compliance.

“We provide compliance departments, in big corporations especially, with piece of mind that they do have transparency,” he said.

The platform will be free to trial until the beginning of next year, after which it will transition to a subscription and commission business model.

The company is confident that the use of digital platforms to facilitate trade and management are the way many metals businesses are heading.

“Everything else is going digital, from purchasing your books to hotels and flights all online. The commodity industry should not be left behind,” Botell said.