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“We are striving for a transparent market”

21 May 20217 min reading

We understood this past year just how small the world really is. Disruptions to supply chains in one country directly affect companies on the other side of the world.

Guy Soreq CEO and Founder Glowlit

A significant part of trade is formulized as: buy cheap, sell dear. However, if you are on the buyer side, you would definitely prefer a competitive market and also enjoy price transparency. Feed ingredients trade is no exception. At a time where input prices are skyrocketing, feed manufacturers are in need of real time data from the ingredients and additives market more than ever. And this need seems to increase while we observe the world trade is more interconnected than we have thought before the COVID-19 crisis.

We had the chance to have a talk with Guy Soreq, CEO and founder of Glowlit, which he defines as a crowdsourcing platform for prices of feed ingredients and additives. He says, current prices of over 120 ingredients from 91 countries are published on Glowlit’s website for feed manufacturers in the first plan. Soreq recalls his concerns when he founded Glowlit in 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic, and says, “We first started Glowlit with one question: will users from the industry actually share their prices? We can now confidently say that the answer to that question is yes.” Today, the company has over 402,000 price entries, and the total number is growing each day.

You are the founder of Glowlit. How would you introduce your startup for our readers? What is Glowlit and what does it aim for? Glowlit is a crowdsourcing platform for prices of feed ingredients and additives. We have over 120 ingredients on our site, with users reporting from 91 countries. The system works by allowing users to anonymously enter their most recent price for a product. Only if that price is verified by our system, the user gains immediate access to a free comprehensive market intelligence report. That report updates in real-time, and includes historical charts along with a breakdown of prices offered for specific volumes.

How does Glowlit serve its subscribers and the industry as a whole? Glowlit is committed to increasing market transparency for all, not only those companies able to pay for expensive reports. Glowlit’s unique model allows us to provide data to industry professionals from across the supply chain, whether they represent a large producer or a small feed mill, so that they can competitively assess their market position and negotiate better.

You need to be confident about the data you share with public. How do you ensure the accuracy of the data sent to you? Glowlit has automated what was once a time-consuming manual process of data collection. The constant flow of inbound data into the Glowlit system allows us to continuously improve the algorithm which validates our price entries. Our skilled Verification Team of industry professionals adds an additional layer of price validation. This hybrid verification system allows Glowlit to ensure that rapid shifts in price are accurately and immediately reflected within the system. Glowlit currently has over 402,000 price entries, and is growing each day.

“I NOTICED THE NEED IN MY FIRST JOB”

What drove you for founding Glowlit? What was the need or the gap you observed in the feed ingredients market? Just after I finished my degree in Chemistry and Biology, I joined a company trading in feed additives. We had just lost a major account for Lysine, because a competitor underpriced us. While I had originally hoped to work in a role that utilized my scientific background, I found that most of my time was spent trying to source prices from the market. I built Glowlit to be the tool I wish I had then.

Recalling your dreams and ideas when founding Glowlit, how have they evolved since you set off? Did you find come across sufficient opportunities to make them real? How successful do the market and you think Glowlit is? Are there any next steps in your mind? We first started Glowlit with one question: will users from the industry actually share their prices? We can now confidently say that the answer to that question is yes. The concept of crowdsourcing data is no longer a new one, and Glowlit is being accepted as a valid reliable source of market information. Now we are working to increase the value our users get by providing them with even more information. The more our users contribute, the more detailed the data is that they will have access to.

Have you heard of Covantis? What would you say about it? Can you compare and contrast it with what you aim to do at Glowlit? Covantis is one of several blockchain based platforms specializing in the commodities world – Komgo, Vakt and dltledgers being a few others. Covantis specifically is working on digitizing post-trade processes, adding greater transparency and efficiency to the complex logistical processes involved in moving goods all over the world. Other platforms are concerned more with trade and financing.

These companies have a very different goal from us. Glowlit is aiming to bring greater price transparency to the market through a tool that digitizes price discovery. We can certainly draw some similarities when it comes to digitizing processes that were once manual, increasing efficiency, and even adding greater transparency. But fundamentally, Glowlit is tackling a different piece of the trade process. Additionally, we’re much more interested in the ingredients that are really tough to find market data for. That is where our crowdsourcing methodology shines.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the need for accurate and real time data coming from the industry players? Can you give examples from your true-life observations? We launched Glowlit in the middle of 2019 knowing that it will take a while to convince buyers and sellers to share information, even anonymously. We knew that the generation of buyers accustomed to negotiating prices in face-to-face meetings would not be easy to convince. And then COVID happened.

As the entire industry moved online, these face-to-face meetings were a thing of the past. Buyers that preferred shaking hands over a telephone call ended up using Zoom. With our entire professional lives moving online, coupled with the erratic behavior of the markets post COVID, users flocked to Glowlit for an easy reliable way to check market prices.

“WE ALL SAW HOW SMALL THE WORLD IS”

How do you forecast the course of this pandemic within a period of one year in terms of its effects on the industry and trade as a whole? Do you think this is a new phase in world history implying that many major things irreversibly changed? Personally, I’m looking forward to the time when we can look back with hindsight on what COVID forever changed and what reverted back to the old ways. I think that large in-person events like trade shows and conferences will still have a place in our world, but that the blended format is here to stay. Thanks to the power of digital these events will be even more inclusive moving forward.

We understood this past year just how small the world really is. Disruptions to supply chains in one country directly affect companies on the other side of the world. In many ways, COVID revealed and magnified the weak points in our supply chains, and I think that a big part of the post COVID recovery will focus on strengthening those points. Buyers, sellers and traders need to be more knowledgeable than ever before on where their products come from and if they are priced fairly. Glowlit emerged as a tool to do just that during the pandemic and we will continue to adapt and invent new solutions as our industry faces new challenges.

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