Contour Network, the digital trade platform, acquired by fintech Xalts, based in Singapore

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. Backed by Accel and Citi Ventures, Xalts enables financial institutions to build and manage blockchain-based apps. 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.

In a surprising turn of events, a new acquisition has taken place in the financial technology industry. Xalts, a dynamic startup hailing from Singapore and founded only 18 months ago, has acquired Contour Network, a digital trade platform created by a group of eight major banks, with names such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, and BNP among them. The acquisition deal, the precise details of which remain undisclosed, is rumored to have a value in the high single millions, composed of both cash and stock.

Enriched with support from two renowned entities, Accel and Citi Ventures, Xalts provides financial institutions with the tools necessary to develop and manage blockchain-based applications. Contour, on the other hand, was established in 2017 by a consortium of leading banks with the aim to digitize trade. Today, it boasts a user base of 22 banks and 100+ global businesses, including well-known names such as Tata Group, Rio Tinto, and SAIC.

The faces behind the promising startup, Ashutosh Goel and Supreet Kaur, both bring extensive experience in senior executive roles from their past tenures at HSBC and Meta, respectively. In an interview with TechCrunch, Kaur shared that the launch of Xalts was fueled by the observation that large financial institutions and businesses often lacked an efficient and unified process to handle their various financial products. These may include corporate loans, issuing letters of credit, and bank guarantees, among others. Instead, the tasks were distributed among different teams, both within and outside the organization, resulting in fragmented and inefficient processes. As a solution, Xalts aims to empower businesses by enabling them to build their own applications and share them internally and externally.

The primary focus of this startup is to turn Contour into a powerful rail that connects banks, corporations, and other institutions, seamlessly integrated with Xalts’ remarkable platform. This integration will allow Xalts’ clients not only to build apps but also to establish secure and compliant connections with each other. The first phase of this plan will cater to banks and logistics companies, enabling them to provide embedded trade and supply chain apps on a unified platform for their customers.

Despite the massive growth projected in global trade, reaching $30 trillion by 2030, it still faces many challenges. One major obstacle is the friction caused by outdated and inefficient processes. Transactions often take an excruciating amount of time as various entities, such as importers, exporters, banks, logistics companies, and even customs, rely heavily on manual methods for sharing information.

According to Kaur, Xalts’ most significant area of growth is focused on empowering banks to form stronger connections with their corporate clients and extending B2B finance solutions, including trade financing and lending options. To illustrate this, she gives the example of a prominent global fast fashion conglomerate with vendors in Vietnam and Bangladesh. Even if the conglomerate’s bank might not have a presence in these countries, it can still facilitate financing for their vendors through a straightforward one-click solution on its internal vendor portfolio. All of this is made possible through Xalts’ integrated apps.

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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