Fintech platform Xalts acquires Contour Network to create ‘Plaid for Trade’

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Singapore, Feb 20 (IANS) Accel and Citi Ventures-backed fintech Xalts, used by financial institutions and businesses to build and manage digital finance applications, on Tuesday announced the acquisition of Contour Network, owned by a consortium of global banks, to accelerate digitisation in trade and supply chain finance.

Contour started in 2017 as a pilot by eight global banks including HSBC, Standard Chartered and BNP with a focus to digitize trade. Currently, over 22 banks and more than 100 global businesses like Tata Group and Rio Tinto use Contour for digital trade finance solutions.

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

In 2023, global trade reached over $30 trillion. However, according to QED Investors, the digitization of global trade remains relatively minuscule, with less than 1% currently conducted digitally. Due to the complexities and different regulations involved in cross-border trade, a single transaction may require up to 50 sheets of paper that are exchanged with up to 30 different stakeholders including importers, exporters, banks, logistics companies and customs.

As global trade goes from strength to strength and traditional supply chains reorganize, Xalts is taking inspiration from Silicon Valley startups like Plaid and Stripe to accelerate digitisation in trade and supply chain finance.

“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 customized solutions quickly,” said Ashutosh Goel, CEO of Xalts.

The initial focus for Xalts will be on embedded solutions for trade and supply chain finance. These 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 tokenization. We partner with leading blockchains and integrate with multiple infrastructure providers to help our clients build tokenization applications,” said Supreet Kaur, COO of Xalts. “Contour will also enable network members to work with us to launch applications in this space”.

Xalts was founded in 2022 by Ashutosh Goel and Supreet Kaur, former senior executives at HSBC and Meta.

Currently with a team of over 50 across offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, India, the UAE and the UK, Xalts counts large financial institutions, regulatory bodies and technology companies as its clients.

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

“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”, added Everett Leonidas, Director, Citi Ventures.



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