Mercaris was co-founded in 2012 by two entrepreneurs who were both previously working at the Chicago Climate Exchange. Small for now, but could be an interesting one to watch as demand for organic food continues to grow.
If you want to know the price of a bushel of corn, you can find it on the website of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange . The market value of organic corn or grains grown without genetically modified seeds is harder to find. These crops are traded privately, with growers negotiating rates with buyers over the phone or via e-mail. Kellee James wants to change that. As co-founder and chief executive officer of Mercaris, a market data service and online trading platform for organic and non-genetically modified organism commodities, James plans to build an exchange so such crops can trade the same way as conventional commodities. “They remain very opaque and nontransparent markets, and that imposes some transaction costs on everybody along the supply chain, from the grower to the manufacturer all the way up to the consumer,” she says.