NEWS: AI Company Raising Money

Leon Kotovich, CEO, in Paris as part of Techstars’ accelerator

A software company that uses artificial intelligence to examine how geopolitical factors influence global commodities prices is looking to raise $750,000 in a seed round.

TerraManta, with HQ in Irvine, uses an open-source machine learning framework, customized to fit its specific requirements, CEO Leon Kotovich said. It’s first product is for crude oil.

It’s similar to how human analysts examine the crude oil markets, which are driven by three major components: supply, demand and inventory, which acts as a moderating influence between the first two. Any factor that influences these three components, including strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar, will cause a fluctuation in the markets.

Supply could be reduced by OPEC agreements to cut production, or spike up if certain countries choose not to honor the agreements. This – and a multiplicity of other market drivers – is what TerraManta’s AI identifies and continuously learns.

The objective is the same as for human analysts: understand these drivers, determine their impact on fundamentals, measure fluctuations and continue learning.

“We believe that this process is much more effective by applying machine learning,” Kotovich said.

TerraManta recently got its first client for its crude oil product, which includes buy and sell signals. That company is a global integrated oil and energy company based in France. Due to an NDA, the name of this customer cannot be disclosed, Kotovich said.

He did say that getting this client was a direct result of participating in Techstars Paris’ accelerator, which TerraManta participated in late last year. Another benefit was receiving the accelerator’s standard $120,000 investment.

Out of more than 800 companies from around the world that applied, TerraManta was the only U.S. startup out of 10 finalists accepted, Kotovich told OC Startups Now.

The most important thing TerraManta got out of Techstars was the life-long relationship, he said.

“Techstars’ network is for life, ready to support entrepreneurs after the program concludes,” he said. “The relationships with mentors, investors and prospective customers are literally invaluable for any early stage company to further refine product market fit, go-to market strategy and fundraising activities.”

Techstars Paris looks for startups that can leverage the use of data in the real world, according to its website.

Kotovich founded TerraManta in early 2016. Previously, he was COO at PlanSoft, an enterprise software company. He has built and led “high- performance” software development teams in Russia and India. He lived in Russia for two years and is practically fluent.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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