After graduating from YCombinator early in 2019 VertoFX has returned to London and raised $2.1m seed funding to scale into Africa.
Cross-border payments and foreign exchange are complex and largely depend on correspondent banking infrastructure. Current solutions from incumbents and more recent digital challengers are costly and lack transparency. This problem is more acute for companies in emerging markets that deal with exotic currencies that are sometimes illiquid or infrequently traded. By utilising a peer-to-peer model where businesses with foreign currency needs are matched with each other via algorithms on a regulated and secure platform, VertoFx enables these businesses to access currencies cheaper, faster and more securely.
VertoFX was part of the latest YCombinator cohort and has seen 20% month-on-month growth in transaction volumes since launch. The team has already shown an incredible amount of tenacity in relocating for the YCombinator and this will stand them in good stead as they embark on a huge mission and deliver their FX solution to businesses in the worlds emerging markets. These markets are relatively under-served but have huge potential.
Founded by ex-bankers Anthony Oduwole and Ola Oyetayo, VertoFX provides a one-stop service that gives companies easy access to foreign currencies and make seamless international payments to their suppliers. The founders originally conceived of the idea while comparing notes about friends with businesses in Africa that were struggling to access foreign exchange. Since then, the company has gained FCA approval, opened accounts in 19 currencies and is currently processing millions of dollars in monthly transaction volumes for businesses.
A typical VertoFX customer, for example, could be a South-African company with suppliers from China which it needs to pay in RMB or USD on a weekly basis. VertoFX connects these companies and uses its networks of banks and infrastructure relationships to provide simpler settlement times and liquidity in local currencies.
The investment will be used to scale technology; launch in additional markets; expand operations; and increase the number of currencies on the platform. An increase in industry partnerships will grow geographical reach, enabling access to trade corridors that are currently under-served.
Ola Oyetayo, CEO and Co-Founder commented: “We are in the early stages of helping businesses in emerging markets solve a significant problem they currently face and the funds we have raised will help put some fuel in our bus for the journey. We spoke to a number of investors after YC’s demo day but ADV’s patient capital ethos resonated strongly with Anthony and I. We are glad to have them and everyone else that participated in the round on board and are especially thankful to YCombinator for teaching us to build something people want.”
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