An interview with Dave Friedman, Head of Partnerships at Kpler.
How did you come to Kpler? What is your role with Kpler?
I decided to leave the energy journalism world a few years ago with the aim of moving into a core business role in commodities data. I had had my eye on Kpler for some time, so I pounced at the opportunity when the company opened a Dubai-based partnerships role in early 2019. Upon joining, I began working on Kpler’s relationships with sources of data and a wider network of companies within the commodities ecosystem. I concentrated on relationships in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea until I took on the Head of Partnerships position a couple of months ago – the first time since 2007 that my job isn’t just focused on the Middle East!
What is the Partnership’s team mission?
The partnership team’s mission is to help Kpler achieve its strategic goals through the establishment of partnerships in general. These partnerships can serve three purposes. The first one is to continuously enhance the quality and comprehensiveness of the data we provide to our users. The second is to maximize our data’s visibility by partnering, for instance, with third-party publications. The third is to build indirect revenue streams for the company.
Who’s part of the Partnerships team?
Our Head of Partnerships in the Americas is a former trader, Marshall Hooper, based in Texas. Since 2016, he has built a network of relationships that gives Kpler unparalleled coverage in the Americas and has been instrumental in positioning Kpler as the leader in our space. Our Head of Partnerships in Asia-Pacific is Hanxi Chua, based in Singapore. His extensive knowledge of LNG, dry bulk markets, and shipping continues to shape Kpler’s future, and he has pushed us light years ahead in terms of coverage of key markets like China and Singapore. We are now looking to hire someone in London to cover Europe and Africa (1).
What are the kind of data partnerships Kpler looks for? What makes a partner “fit” with Kpler?
When scanning the landscape of data providers, we first and foremost look at data streams which add value to our customers. In fact, many of our users are already familiar with our partners' data, but they manually aggregate it with the Kpler data. Our goal is to add value to our customers who seek speed, timeliness, and real-time connectivity to data flows by creating an ecosystem for our data alongside our partners’ data. With the combined set, our clients can focus on their core job rather than on time-consuming and inefficient data manipulation. By embedding this data into a single application in the right context, our users gain time and decision-making ability.
When looking at third-party data providers, we also examine the extent to which this provider produces proprietary data. In other words, data that is truly unique, that cannot be found anywhere else, as is the case with Kpler’s data. Last but not least, we only want to partner with best-in-class providers to keep the quality of our products very high.
Can you tell us more about the recent data stream additions into the Kpler terminal? Why those partners in particular?
It’s important to note that most third-party data available on the Kpler terminal will only be available to clients of that third party. For example, a client of Kpler will only be able to access prices produced by the Baltic Exchange on our terminal if they are also a client of the Baltic Exchange. Each of our recent partnerships – those with IIR Energy, the Baltic Exchange, Spark and Parameta – help Kpler greatly in developing a one-stop-shop and in succeeding together with leading providers of commodities data.
IIR Energy is a US-based provider of proprietary refinery data, and its refinery events data is now available to mutual clients. The Baltic Exchange, a recognised source of maritime market information for the trading and settlement of physical and derivative contracts, provides benchmark freight prices including BLNG indices listed with CME. We have also partnered with Spark Commodities, a new tech-driven contender in the price reporting agency space that recently received investment as well as a listing of its LNG freight benchmarks from ICE (2). Spark’s prices are now available to mutual clients on Kpler’s terminal. Last but not least, our recent partners include Parameta, a leading provider of OTC market data. Its LNG, LPG, crude and refined products prices are now available across Kpler’s terminal for clients to be able to compare trends in commodities flows with changes in prices.
Combined, these partnerships position Kpler as the most comprehensive solution for data and analytics in the commodities space.
What are the next steps in terms of partnerships? What can Kpler’s customers expect in 2022?
The Partnerships team’s agenda in 2022 is laser-focused on delivering value to our growing client base. We built our product around engagement with our clients, making sure we react to and anticipate their requirements. These discussions guide the partnership team’s mission: if our clients want to see our data alongside a particular company’s data next year, we will pursue the opportunity.
(1) If you are interested, apply in the Careers section
(2) Note of the editor: Kpler is a shareholder of Spark.
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