VertoFX raises $ 10 million for cross-border payments in emerging markets – TechCrunch
VertoFX, a global B2B payments platform that enables small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to make payments to their vendors, today announced it has closed a $ 10 million Series A funding..
Quona Capital, an emerging venture capital firm focused on FinTech, led the way. Other companies also participated, including The Treasury, founded by Eli Broverman of Betterment and Jeff Cruttenden of Acorns; Middle East Business Partners (MEVP); TMT Investments in the UK; Unicorn Growth Capital; Zrosk Investments; and P1 Ventures.
The lack of interoperability between African currencies mainly explains why a Kenyan business owner who wants to bill another business owner in South Africa in shillings or rand ends up using the dollar, the currency that powers nearly 80% of Africa’s bilateral trade.
As trade and supply chains become more and more global and international payments remain a complicated and expensive proposition. The case is particularly problematic in emerging markets like Africa, where local currencies are less liquid than those of developed markets..
While fintechs create solutions around peer-to-peer payments and remittances, most are consumer-centric. Meanwhile, the B2B market, which accounts for 30% of global global imports and 45% of total employment in emerging markets, is largely intact.
Hence the reason why Ola Oyetayo and Anthony Oduwole launched VertoFX in 2018. And instead of focusing on Africa, the two UK-based Nigerians took an emerging markets approach.
Initially, the YC-backed company acted as a foreign exchange market to help companies convert illiquid currencies into liquid pairs. But when getting the deal and then Raising $ 2 Million Funding Two Years Ago, User Comments Highlighted Importance Of Providing Cross-Border Payments As Well.
It is not difficult to see the value chain: a company goes to a platform to trade or swap one currency for another invariably Does the intention to pay another company in another country.
âWe have now evolved further from no only being a foreign exchange market to a full suite of cross-border payments products for businesses, âOyetayo told TechCrunch.
On the VertoFX platform, businesses can exchange money in over 200 countries in 39 currencies, up from 120 countries and 19 currencies the last time the company spoke to us..
Through its website, VertoFX is designed for freelancers, SMEs and businesses, providing payment, exchange and multi-currency accounts to each segment.
These business owners can send cross-border B2B payments at exchange rates up to nine times cheaper than they could through traditional banks, said CEO Oyetayo.. And more important, free of charge.
A toll-free proposition has caught on with a user base of over 2,000 businesses, each processing an average of $ 30,000. Together they have facilitated billions of dollars in transaction volume each year, according to the company.
The CEO said that since the start of the pandemic, the growth of VertoFX users has increased 11 times and 8 times revenues without giving specific figures.
Similar to Most fintechs, the business has benefited from a global shift in people shifting to digital payment methods and more homogeneous businesses in Africa transacting with each other through digital channels.
Not only can businesses use VertoFX for their personal payment needs, but they can also rely on corporate rails to create solutions for their end customers.. For example, an investment management platform that allows clients to buy stocks on its platform can use Verto to convert currencies and facilitate installments and installments.
” This solution is suitable to developing markets where it takes companies to pay customers days or weeks to make payments, âsaid Oduwole. “Our internal compliance solution allows them to process and settle at once, or in some cases a few hours.
If cross-border payments are free, then how does the business make money? VertoFX takes a small commission when businesses use its foreign exchange service and charges a 1% commission when they use its price discovery marketplace solution.
In the future, at some point, VertoFX âwill be potentially start generating revenue from API calls, as well as revenue from payments made on the platform, âCEO said.
In a statement, Monica Brand Engel, co-founder and managing partner of lead investor Quona Capital (also a backer to Cowrywise in Nigeria), praised the platform’s ability to solve the problems businesses face. with low visibility, slow speeds and high border cross-payment costs. VertoFX is doing “important and impactful work,” she said.
Before the end of the year, VertoFX plans to increase the list of currencies on its platform to 51, CTO Oduwole said. The company will use the investment to achieve this while building its platform to enable businesses to move more money across borders. effectively, he added in a press release.
interesting way, VertoFX only has six African currencies on its platform; they cover 60% of the continent’s GDP. And with the global B2B payments industry expected to reach nearly $ 200 trillion by 2028, VertoFX plans to accelerate its geographic expansion into more markets in Africa and the Middle East.
“We want to get to a point in the future where someone can easily exchange a Ghanaian cedi for the rand without having to make transactions in dollars or euros â, said the founders.
They also pointed out that the company, in a way, promotes financial inclusion for companies that cannot transfer money, for example, from India to Turkey without going through a bank.. VertoFX puts businesses in underserved regions on an equal footing with their counterparts in developed markets, CEO says.
“Ultimately, we want to help a business in an emerging market send money to another business elsewhere, as easily as texting.