Fintech platform, Xalts, is to acquire Contour Network, owned by a consortium of global banks. The aim is to accelerate digitisation in trade and supply chain finance.

Accel and Citi Ventures-backed fintech Xalts is used by financial institutions and businesses to build and manage digital finance applications.

Contour started in 2017 as a pilot by eight global banks including HSBC, Standard Chartered and BNP. It was established with a focus to digitise trade. Currently, 22 banks and 100+ global businesses like Tata and Rio Tinto use Contour for digital trade finance solutions.

Specifically, Xalts is used by institutions to build multi-party applications for digitisation and tokenisation. It plans to leverage Contour’s industry standard workflows and integrations to facilitate communication and transactions between businesses and financial institutions in the network.

2023: global trade reached over $30trn

However, according to QED Investors, the digitisation of global trade remains relatively minuscule, with less than 1% currently conducted digitally. Due to complexities and regulations in cross-border trade, a single transaction may require up to 50 sheets of paper. These are then exchanged with up to 30 different stakeholders including importers, exporters, banks, logistics companies and customs.

Xalts is taking inspiration from startups like Plaid and Stripe to accelerate digitisation in trade & supply chain finance.

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Ashutosh Goel, CEO of Xalts said: “We want to create a Plaid for Trade. Our vision is to expand the scope of Contour’s network which is trusted by banks and corporates. And build it into a rail that enables businesses to access digital solutions for trade and supply chain finance offered by banks, fintechs and technology partners. Combining our platform with Contour’s Network will allow participants to develop and deploy customised solutions quickly.”

Xalts initial focus: embedded solutions for trade and supply chain finance

Xalts will enable banks, logistics companies and technology companies to offer integrated solutions to businesses, using a single platform.

Many global and regional banks have been making a push for deeper integrations with their clients and global platforms. In 2023, HSBC had announced a JV with Tradeshift to create embedded finance applications.

“Our platform also enables institutions to build new innovative applications and products by leveraging blockchain and tokenisation. We partner with leading blockchains and integrate with multiple infrastructure providers to help our clients build tokenisation applications,” added Supreet Kaur, COO of Xalts.

“Contour will also enable network members to work with us to launch applications in this space”.

Abhinav Chaturvedi, Partner, Accel, added: “Accel has backed innovative companies globally in this space. Xalts has demonstrated they have the right vision and a team that can execute at a global scale very quickly.”

Everett Leonidas, Director, Citi Ventures, said: “Citi has long been a leader in driving innovation in financial services. We invested in Contour in 2020 and led the seed round for Xalts in 2022. The combination of these two companies into one firm with an expanded vision and a great leadership team will accelerate innovation in global trade finance.”