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Singapore-based fintech Xalts acquires digital trade platform Contour Network

In a role reversal, Xalts, a Singapore fintech startup founded 18 months ago, has acquired Contour Network, a digital trade platform set up by eight major banks including HSBC, Standard Chartered and BNP. Terms of the deal were undisclosed, but the acquisition price was in the high single millions and composed of cash and stock.

Backed by Accel and Citi Ventures, Xalts enables financial institutions to build and manage blockchain-based apps. Contour was started in 2017 by a consortium of eight banks to digitize trade and is currently used by 22 banks and more than 100 global business including Tata Group, Rio Tinto and SAIC.

Xalts was founded in 2022 by Ashutosh Goel and Supreet Kaur, who previously held senior executive positions at HSBC and Meta, respectively. Kaur tells TechCrunch that they launched Xalts because large financial institutions and businesses often don’t have a single process to handle all their financial products, like corporate loans, issuing a letter of credit or bank guarantee. Instead, they’re handled by different teams both inside and outside of their organizations. For example, if a commercial bank issues a loan to a corporations, different teams work on KYC, onboarding, risk, compliance and issuance.

If a financial institution decides to build applications to make the process more efficient, they usually ask their IT teams or external software service providers, but that can cost a lot of money and take months. Xalts’ goal is to let businesses build their own apps and share them not only within their organization, but also outside.

Xalts founders Supreet Kaur and Ashutosh Goel

Xalts founders Supreet Kaur and Ashutosh Goel

The startup plans to turn Contour into a rail connecting banks, corporations and other institutions, and integrate it with Xalts’ platform. Kaur says this will enable Xalts’ clients to not only build apps, but also connect with each other in a secure and compliant way. It will focus first on enabling banks and logistics companies to offer embedded trade and supply chain apps on a single platform to their customers.

Global trade is expected to hit $30 trillion by 2030, but traders still have to deal with a lot of friction. Transactions often take a lot of time as everyone involved, including importers, exporters, banks, logistics companies and customs, swap information in a mostly manual process.

Kaur says Xalts’ biggest growth area is enabling banks to be more connected with corporate customers and offering B2B finance solutions, including trade finance and lending. An example she gives is a global fast fashion conglomerate with vendors in Vietnam and Bangladesh. Even if the conglomerate’s bank isn’t present in those countries, it can help vendors access financing through a one-click solution on its internal vendor portfolio by using Xalts to build an integrated apps.

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