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Buddy aims to digitise recycling trade, transforming $348B market
Tue, 19th Mar 2024

Buddy, a global marketplace for recycled metal, has been launched. Its founders have over thirty years of experience in the industry. Their ambition is for the platform to assist in the transition of the $348B metal recycling market from manual to digital procurement processes and post-trade administration. Buyers from around the world have already signed up, indicating the potential impact on the market.

Particularly in the recycling industry dominated by disparate systems, the manual processes used by most trades can lead to time wasted, business risks, and errors. As Stuart Kagan, Co-founder of Buddy, explains, "Most marketplaces out there are managed - they anonymise both sides of the transaction, buying for as low as possible and selling for as high as possible. This doesn't create a pathway for sellers and buyers to build relationships with their counterparties."

The emphasis on relationships in the recycling business is significant. Therefore, Buddy seeks to facilitate efficient trading by matching appropriate buyers with sellers. Kagan adds, "We're highly selective about who we welcome into the marketplace, and the bar for entry is high to ensure we maintain an ecosystem of trust. We hop on a plane so our members don't have to - our team has done the hard work, including site visits and quality checks."

Industry professionals praise the merits of Buddy's unique approach. John Kells, Co-Managing Partner at New Zealand venture capital firm GD1 who funded the start-up's recent pre-seed raise, believes, "What Buddy has built represents a transformative leap into the future. The technology and relationship-driven approach will increase trading flows to solve some of the industry's longest-standing challenges."

The demand for recycled metal is at record levels, and Buddy has already onboarded some of the industry's most reputable buyers across 18 different countries. From April onwards, the app will be launched to metal recyclers from North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Industry leaders will have access to the app at two major industry events: the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) Convention and the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) World Recycling Convention and Exhibition.

Co-founder Lisa Kagan believes that the industry is missing out on the efficiencies that come with end-to-end process digitisation, especially as most companies use WhatsApp, email, and spreadsheets to trade hundreds of billions of dollars. "Without comprehensive and integrous data sets, the industry has no basis to leverage the latest in technological advances such as machine learning and AI," she asserts.

Buddy provides members with access to structured data for analysis and decision-making. Purchasing parties can assess the viability of each trade using parameters including pricing, shipping costs and ratings, and reviews directly in the app. As the owner of Oryx, the most extensive buyer of stainless steel in Europe, Michael Pawlowski, testifies, "Through Buddy, we gain access to a significantly larger volume of recycled metal through a diverse range of trusted sellers."

Alongside solving practical trading difficulties, Buddy's venture also tackles environmental issues. "Steel production makes up a third of the world's total carbon emissions and using recycled metal can reduce these emissions by 80%. By placing transparency and trust at the heart of the supply chain, we believe Buddy can reshape the future of metal production," concludes Lisa Kagan.