For many years, Sim Jian Min watched his father’s commodity trading business suffer from increased competition and lower margins. As a small player in an industry that has been slow to adopt new technologies, Integrated Chemicals Specialties struggled to compete. So, Sim, an Oxford engineering graduate, built a mobile platform to help.

Source Sage allows community traders of oleochemicals to list the raw materials that they want to buy or sell. Users can connect with each other through the platform or ask for help in sourcing for the right deals. The platform, which Sim founded in 2013, is used today by more than 10,000 traders, suppliers and buyers from more than 60 countries. Partly thanks to his father’s network, most of them are oleochemical traders. The deals posted on its platform are collectively worth about US$1 billion ($1.4 billion).

Using data from transactions, Source Sage can also provide its users with real-time market prices. “Users on Source Sage have to register, so we know [their trading patterns], which helps us provide more comprehensive data than marketplaces that only do listings,” Sim says. “Commodity trading is becoming more and more on-demand because of volatility. If traders don’t trade fast enough, the prices change, and their margins will be affected.” For the oleochemical industry in which Source Sage operates, he adds, more than 40% of trades are on-demand deals.