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Without making waves, data start-up CargoMetrics is collecting info about what gets shipped where

Posted by Scott Kirsner  February 10, 2012 08:36 AM

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How secretive are the folks over at CargoMetrics?

When co-founder Scott Borgerson showed up at a VC mixer at Quincy Market last month, his name tag read just "Scott." No company affiliation. When I tried to confirm with him afterward that he'd been at the party, his response was: "Maybe."

His investors at the Boston office of Summerhill Venture Partners wouldn't tell me who made the investment in CargoMetrics, when it was made, or how much they invested. "It benefits the company to be in stealth mode right now," e-mailed Summerhill partner Will Kohler.

But the company has been hiring steadily in Boston, and LinkedIn currently lists a dozen employees, including co-founder Rockford Weitz. (Both Weitz and Borgerson are Fletcher School alums, and fellows at the Gloucester-based Institute for Global Maritime Studies.)

So what is the company up to? CargoMetrics is collecting data about the movement of commodities by ship, and selling that data to hedge funds. (Ships report on their location through tracking systems like AIS, but CargoMetrics seems to be combining that with information about what's on board.) According to a job posting, the company "has developed a groundbreaking analytics platform which offers comprehensive, dynamic information on the movement of the global supply of the world’s commodities." Useful if you're trying to make a profit buying or selling commodities futures.

Borgerson (pictured at right) is former Coast Guard officer, and was the founding director of the Coast Guard Academy's Institute for Leadership. He's also an expert on Arctic shipping.

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