TradeWindow successfully raises NZ$2.67m
16 December 2019
TradeWindow successfully raises NZ$2.67m in funding round with commercial launch on horizon
New Zealand-based supply chain software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, TradeWindow, has successfully completed a seed funding round of NZ$2.67million.
Two of the new investors bring significant experience in shipping and logistics – the New Caledonia-based Leroux family office jointly with their Auckland-based partner Te Hana consulting, and Perth-based Rae family office. Another major contributor to the funding round is ASB Bank, following on from its initial investment in June 2019.
TradeWindow is a transformative platform that empowers the supply chain through a digital super-connector, securing compliance, efficiency and trust for global trade. The TradeWindow platform, underpinned by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), creates a ‘single trading window’ accessible by all parties involved in the export transaction from the importer to the exporter. It significantly reduces costs due to the instantaneous sharing of documentation and diminishes the risk of fraud and cyber security threats.
The TradeWindow platform was successfully piloted by ASB Bank last year, executing a trade between a Korean importer and a major Kiwi meat exporter, Greenlea Premier Meats. TradeWindow has several pilot projects underway with other Kiwi exporters in different sectors, including one with Fiordland Lobster Company, New Zealand’s largest lobster exporter.
ASB executive general manager business banking Nigel Annett, who is also on TradeWindow’s board, says the investment from two major companies further validates the opportunity TradeWindow presents to the market.
“ASB supported and invested in TradeWindow early on because we could see the opportunity and the need to simplify the export process, while also providing a secure platform to share relevant information and documentation. For TradeWindow to receive additional investment from companies of this calibre really highlights the opportunity in this space, and we’re incredibly excited that it is nearing commercial launch,” says Annett.
TradeWindow founder and CEO, AJ Smith, says the new funding round is a huge vote of confidence in the potential of the TradeWindow platform.
“We have rapidly progressed the product’s capabilities and now that it has been thoroughly tested and validated, TradeWindow is very close to commercial launch. This is piquing the interest of some of the region’s most experienced exporters, carriers, banks, ports and airlines.”
Smith says he is delighted to have investors on board who are smart industry operators.
“They have a thorough understanding of the supply chain challenges exporters face in getting their product to its destination in a timely and cost-effective fashion and will provide valuable insights and opportunities as we continue to develop the TradeWindow platform.”
With some 12,000 registered exporters in New Zealand alone, Smith says TradeWindow represents a major market opportunity. “Exporters want to get their product to customers as quickly as possible, but the complexity of documentation and the costs of back office processing between parties can significantly hinder that from happening. TradeWindow allows all relevant documents – such as certificates of origin, custom documents, commercial invoices, packing lists and any other compliance documents or certificates – to be exchanged digitally using one touchpoint.”
Benoît Marcenac, business partner of the Leroux family office, said, “We are delighted and excited to be part of the TradeWindow adventure. Beyond the timing, which is right to develop this blockchain application, we have been seduced by the eco-system approach when it comes to exports, combined with the outstanding know-how and complementarity of the team members and shareholders.”
A Rae family spokesperson said, “TradeWindow really excites us. Creating efficiencies in the vast and growing shipping industry, leveraging blockchain technology in a real world use case. We are thrilled to be a part of this journey."
The Leroux and Marcenac families previously owned Sofrana, a regional shipping line that has provided vital shipping links between Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific nations for over 50 years. In the 1970s, the Rae family established Gull, a low cost fuel retailing business, in Western Australia and then later expanded into New Zealand. The family sold its Western Australia operations to Ausfuel in 2010 and its New Zealand business to Caltex in 2016.
TradeWindow was conceived in partnership with ASB Bank, with the company being an alumnus of the ASB Venturers, a business innovation programme focused on developing disruptive technologies adjacent to the bank’s core business. As such, TradeWindow has been built with enterprise clients in mind and has already gained ISO 9001 and 27001 accreditations.
The company was founded by current CEO, AJ Smith, in January 2018. It has a staff of 32 people in offices in Auckland, one in China, one in Singapore, and plans to expand locally and into Sydney in the new year.
Albertus ‘AJ’ Smith is a successful entrepreneur with a background in financial technology for insurance and personal loans. He has previously founded two fintech companies both of which he successfully sold including one to a Swiss Venture Fund.