We bring transparency, security and liquidity to the $450 billion global rice trade

Our private, permissioned, blockchain-enabled marketplace is the go-to venue to trade and commercialise rice

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Rice Exchange is a digital rice trading platform with an integrated supply chain solution.

What We Do for You

The Rice Exchange

Rice trading is an opaque, complex and extremely process-intensive business. Key stakeholders in the rice trade value chain have grown accustomed to these onerous mechanisms and have, over time, simply accepted their impact on price and margin as a 'cost of business'. However, stakeholders do not have to be beholden to this costly and inefficient status quo.

Indeed, a number of trading market places (real estate funds, securities) are successfully turning to blockchain as a means to optimise their ecosystem efficiency, transparency and trading hygiene.

Blockchain's technology affords benefits that directly address the inherent inefficiencies of the rice market: vast document processing requirements with costly delays and human error; frequent contractual disputes arising from multiple interpretations of clauses, further harming business, or in effect killing the deal.

Blockchain's DNA, whereby each block is built on its predecessor, and validated by community consensus, eradicates any subjective manipulation of a trade, and creates an unmistakable audit trail at every step.

 

Since launching the Early Adopter Programme in October 2018 more than 200 Early Adopters from over 50 countries have signed up with intentions to trade seven million tons of rice on an annual basis. Early Adopters include importers, exporters, distributors and traders. There is an even split between buyers and sellers and we are confident we have enough volume to ensure sufficient trading activity when we launch the platform in early 2019. 
 
We are finalising partnership agreements with service providers incuding insurers, shipping lines, inspection services, lawyers, loss adjusters and marine surveyors who will offer their services to platform users. This fully integrated supply chain solution will revolutionise the rice trading experience bringing ease of use, security and cost benefits to platform users. 

 

The Opportunity

The Market for Rice

  • Each year 760 million tons of paddy rice are produced equivalent to 488 million tons of milled rice annually.
  • On average every human on earth consumes 54kg of milled rice per annum.
  • 48 million tons of milled rice are traded internationally each year, representing 5-fold growth over the last 30 years.
  • The majority of traded rice goes to Africa and the Middle East, the world's fastest growing region. China and Nigeria are the single largest importers, while India, Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan are traditionally the largest exporters.

Over time, we expect Rice Exchange to dominate intra-country trading as well – here China and India are the two largest potential markets.

Unlike other major grain crops, rice has a wide variety of types and finishes, which makes pricing a lot less homogeneous. Given these intricacies, rice trading has traditionally been – and still is - managed by a relatively small group of individuals with little transparency.

Growth in international trade of milled rice*
(million tons)

Growth in international trade of milled rice (million tons)
*Resource: www.ricepedia.org
rice plantations

Problems rice market participants currently face that
the Rice Exchange can solve

01

Documents need to be checked and matched manually which is not only expensive but also means the possibility of costly human mistakes.

02

Documents physically travel the world with loss of time and risk of loss of documents.

03

It is difficult for market participants to establish whether a buyer or seller has a clean track record for fulfilling contractual obligations.

04

The parties involved do not have a full, transparent view of the rice market.

Timeline

Rice Exchange Roll Out

July 2017
Founders discuss the possibility of creating a blockchain-enabled rice trading platform
Jan 2018
Seed round for Rice Exchange raises $300,000
Feb 2018
Platform development begins
June 2018
Commercial brochure released
July 2018
Early Adopter Programme launched
Oct 2018
Founder Stephen Edkins addressed the 10th Rice Trader Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam
Nov 2018
Onboarding and KYC procedures established
Dec 2018
Early Adopter Programme reaches 180 companies from 50 countries
Jan 2019
Finalize integration and partnership agreements
Feb 2019
Soft platform launch
Sustainable Rice

 


Rice is one of the world’s most important food crops with more than 3.5 billion people depending on it as a staple. However, rice cultivation uses large amounts of water and the grain is responsible for the emission of 1.5% of global greenhouse gases.

Rice Exchange promotes the production of sustainable rice by encouraging sustainable and/or organic rice farmers to register on the Rice Exchange platform where rice buyers can easily identify them. In addition our platform allows for provenance and traceability from paddy to plate.

We are in discussions with several partners to offer lenders the chance to finance small-scale rice farmers through our platform.

We are members of the Sustainable Rice Platform and we are also exploring ways to incorporate the sustainability initiatives of the International Rice Research Institute and Oxfam.


 

Dedicated People

Team

Stephen Edkins
Stephen Edkins
Co-founder, CEO

Stephen is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor with interests in agriculture and renewable energy. He is passionate about investing in technology that has been developed in, or, can be applied to developing countries. Stephen, who is an Oxford-trained economist, started his career in finance with a focus on emerging markets. In 2004 he founded a venture capital firm in Shanghai focused on clean energy and made two successful IPO exits (Renesola) on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ.  Stephen became interested in the global rice trade when assessing the cost of importing rice into Nigeria.

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Frank Gouverne
Frank Gouverne
Co-founder, COO

Frank designed the Rice Exchange platform drawing on his 32-year career trading rice on international markets. Frank was managing director at the world's leading rice brokerage, Schepens and Co in Antwerp, and then a founding member of Novel Commodities, a leading Geneva-based rice trading firm. Frank has an extensive network in the global rice business and maintains buy and sell-side relationships in Central America, Africa, Europe, South America and the Middle East, as well as supply contacts in Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, China, the US and South America. He graduated from Antwerp University in Marketing and Distribution.

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Christian Schmitz
Christian Schmitz
CMO

Christian manages the marketing division at Rice Exchange a role he previously performed at the agrochemicals divisions of Bayer and BASF where he was a rice expert. His work with rice development projects has taken him to almost every rice-producing country in the world. Multiple visits to farming communities and research facilities have given him a deep understanding of rice production. After ten years in the agrochemicals business, Christian became marketing director for Henkel and Japan country manager for German furniture brand hülsta. He set up and managed boutique consulting firm Aventa, which provides services for international and Japanese corporations. Christian has invested in two startups and a social media venture. He represents the World Innovations Forum in Japan. He speaks Japanese.

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Don Oparah
Don Oparah
Technology

Don is a startup venture and blockchain expert and has consulted on several ICOs. He holds a doctorate in computer science from the University of Cambridge and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from UCLA. He founded and ran a University of California technology venture incubator (20+ ventures). Don worked at Agilisys, a top-tier, London-based IT and strategy consulting firm and was part of the management team that led the company through significant global growth (from under 100 to over 1,000 employees worldwide in less than two years) serving both blue chip and start-up clients. Don is a TED speaker and is a regular guest panelist and speaker at universities and entrepreneurial events.

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Adolfo Bohmer
Adolfo Bohmer
Risk Management

Adolfo works with Frank to bring transparency, security, liquidity and price discovery to the Rice Exchange platform. Adolfo has had a 25-year career in capital markets in both trading and wealth management. He is currently a director of boutique investment bank and wealth manager Checkpoint Partners. He was previously a director at UBS Wealth Management in Panama. Prior to this Adolfo held capital markets roles with Banco Santander and ING Barings developing new businesses in equities, fixed income and foreign exchange markets. Whilst at Banco Santander he managed the bank's brokerage firm and stock exchange seat in Colombia and was a board member of the Medellin stock exchange. Adolfo has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá and a MBA from INALDE, Bogotá.

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Alade Hakeem
Hakeem Alade
Business Development, West Africa

Alade Hakeem, is a Nigerian born into the royal family of Aladenoye in Ondo State of Nigeria. Hakeem served in the United Nations Protection Force in former Yugoslavia. He holds a political science degree and has over 15 years' experience in international commodity and automobile trading. He is currently managing director of Africa Redcrest in Nigeria and is responsible for the production of 39,000 tons of rice per year in Ondo State and its surroundings.

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Rue Swabey
Rue Swabey
Communications

Rice Exchange serves diverse groups across the globe so Rue is telling the Rice Exchange story to users and beneficiaries from Nepal to Peru, from rice paddy to rice bowl. Rue's background is in equity research (ING Barings, Banco Santander), due diligence, risk and project management. She was involved in the NYSE listings of Colombian companies during the 1990s and promoted AIM-listed renewable energy companies from 2007 to 2012.  Rue holds graduate and master's degrees in Latin American Studies from the universities of Liverpool and London.

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Advisors

Angela Abshier
Angela Abshier
 

Angela is an intellectual property lawyer with more than 15 years specializing in strategy, marketing and Business Development across casino gaming, music, e-sports, sustainable food and blockchain technologies. For nearly two decades she has founded, pivoted, exited and invested in companies in and around media, technology, commerce and food. She has created global insights strategies designed to inform product development and drafted standards for third party participation in highly regulated industries like gaming and wine.  Angela founded Think About Your Food, an organization committed to the pursuit of sustainable food systems globally. She is a passionate vegan, driven to educate the world on the benefits of a plant-based diet and animal welfare. She brings to Rice Exchange her vision to disrupt the status quo and create efficiencies and value in an industry that supports a billion people in the world.

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Charles Crofton-Atkins
Charles Crofton-Atkins
 

Charles is managing director at BTIG. He is a well-known thought leader on the adoption of new technologies in South East Asia and China having led early investments into digital and renewable energy technologies in the region. He has startup experience in Vietnam. His investment banking experience includes a director role at Credit Suisse First Boston and a sales trading role at HSBC Securities.

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Mark Julien
Mark Julien
 

Mark has been in banking for 14 years with a focus on emerging markets.  Most recently he has been responsible for introducing new technologies to drive sales productivity at Standard Chartered Bank where he heads up Client Intelligence for the Global Banking division. Mark also chairs the Programme Committee for Standard Chartered's Seeing is Believing Programme, which oversees the investment and monitoring of funds raised under the Bank's $100m global fundraising campaign to tackle avoidable blindness.  Mark graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Chinese Studies and also holds a MBA in Finance from the Wharton School

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Dr Uichol Kim
Dr Uichol Kim
 

Uichol is a professor at the college of Business Administration of Inha University in Korea.  He is also senior advisor for Asia at the Global Peter Drucker Forum and focuses on the impact that technology has on business and industry. Uichol is a blockchain expert in Korea and is a regular participant in blockchain conferences there.

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Jessica Ordovas Ussia
Jessica Ordovas Ussia
 

Jessica is a director of education company The Schools Trust. She is an enthusiastic supporter of blockchain projects in Europe, having a technological and entrepreneurial background. Jessica founded and ran Mediatech, a leading European gaming company, so she is familiar with complex regulatory environments. She was previously CEO at Codere Apuestas where she launched Spain´s first regulated sport betting operation and she has held key roles in leading media and internet companies over the last 20 years.  Jessica holds a master's degree in international economics from SDA Boconni, Milan and a Bachelor in Economics from the London School of Economics. 

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Harry Parsons
Harry Parsons

Harry became interested in distributed ledger technology whilst studying for a master's degree in film at University College London. His thesis assessed whether a decentralised film model could challenge the oligopoly of the major film studios. Since then, Harry has built a crypto currency portfolio and now works at BCAM as an investment analyst focusing on blockchain opportunities. Harry is particularly interested in how blockchain technologies change the nature of supply chain management and identity verification. Harry holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in French, Politics, and Film.

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Dr Vesselin Popovski
Dr Vesselin Popovski
 

Dr Popovski is Professor and Vice Dean at Jindal Global Law School. He was formerly Director of Studies for International Order and Justice at the UN University, Tokyo and a lecturer in International Law and Politics. He has worked on several distributed ledger technology projects including one in India that puts university qualifications on the blockchain. Vesselin will be advising Rice Exchange on social impact strategy as well as making introductions within his extensive institutional network.

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Sara Roversi
Sara Roversi
 

Sara Roversi, serial entrepreneur and social innovator, founder of the YouCanGroup.it, and FutureFood.Network, an ecosystem that makes food innovation a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future, connecting with the world while promoting local territory and empowering food heroes. Sara is the Executive Director of the Food Innovation Program, the international Master's program that aims to inspire and shape a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators in the global food chain. She is a member of the Italian delegation of the Young Entrepreneurs G20 YEA and member of the Sustainable Food System task Forces at B20 Argentina.

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Rupert Sayer
Rupert Sayer
 

Rupert has been involved with emerging markets trade, commodity and export finance markets for 15 years. He helped create the leading global media force in trade, commodity and export finance: GTR-Global Trade Review. He co-founded GTR Ventures, the world's first investment firm solely supporting and innovating alongside banks, insurers, corporates, and tradetechs specifically for trade and trade finance, leveraging off the huge trade finance community that GTR commands globally. GTRV's mandate includes mobilising private capital into trade and SME lending, particularly in emerging markets.

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Sean Sheppard
Sean Sheppard
 

Sean Sheppard is  co-founder of Silicon Valley based Seed-Stage Venture Capital Fund and Market Development Accelerator GrowthX and GrowthX Academy, a company that trains individuals who want to transition into a career in Sales and Business Development, Growth Marketing or UX Design. Sean is a serial entrepreneur who has successfully grown dozens of early-stage companies across a wide variety of products and markets. He was recently named the # 2 Sales Influencer online and contributor at The Huffington Post. He's now committed to working with countries, companies and startups on developing the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and sales leaders fon how to execute in the innovation economy.

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Alina Zolotavera
Alina Zolotavera
 

Alina is a creative and passionate marketing manager and registered dietitian nutritionist working for the innovative AeroFarms, the largest indoor vertical farm in the world. A natural communicator, connector, and problem-solver Alina is passionate about driving transformational innovation in the realms of food, nutrition, public health and urbanization.

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Commercial Brochure


Blockchain and Smart contracts guarantee the safety of your rice trades. Read more information in our Commercial Brochure.