MIT Grads Raise $4.5M to Fund Hemp Trading Platform

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A pair of recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates have packed up, moved to Chicago, and raised $4.5 million to launch a first-of-its-kind trading platform for industrial hemp.

The duo said traditional markets have overlooked hemp, Crain’s Chicago Business reported. And the two are off to a solid start, having won regulatory approval from the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission for a portion of their company, Seed CX, to become a swap execution facility.

The two twentysomethings also hope to become a “designated contract market, or essentially a futures exchange,” the paper reported, which would allow them to expand the trading platform beyond industrial hemp and into other “unique, rapidly developing” agricultural goods including organic wheat, corn and soybeans.

The duo have traveled the country and spoken to farmers, processors and traders, which convinced them there’s a gap in the agricultural market for this sort of trading platform.

Seed CX already has 10 employees and is “in the final stages of picking a clearinghouse partner,” Crain’s reported.