Yesterday state-owned bank Emirates NBD announced that its Innovation Fund had invested in trade finance platform Komgo. The Swiss startup was originally a blockchain joint venture between nine major banks and high profile energy commodities firms. However, it has since expanded to become a broad trade finance platform after acquiring Canada’s GlobalTrade Corporation (GTC) late last year.
Komgo says it now supports around $1 billion in transactions per day for its 220 corporates and banks. In addition to Geneva, it has a presence in London, Paris, Singapore, Houston and Toronto.
While Emirates is the first Middle Eastern bank to become an investor, last week Komgo announced that Qatar National Bank (QNB) had joined the platform to provide trade finance.
Emirates NBD is the second bank to invest in the last three months after Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (Santander CIB) became a Komgo shareholder in June.
Komgo has two main products, including Trakk which logs documents, creating a digital fingerprint on its blockchain. And Konsole is the platform that matches corporates with banks and offers several solutions including various digital letters of credit and guarantees. The entire workflow is digital.
Blockchain trade finance startups
When Komgo was founded in 2018 there were four bank-backed blockchain trade finance platforms. From the start, Komgo had the most focused target market: letters of credit for the energy sector. It was a sister company to VAKT, another successful enterprise blockchain startup that has several common shareholders. Since then trade finance startups Marco Polo and we.trade have fallen by the wayside, leaving only Komgo and another letter of credit platform, Contour.
Meanwhile, Emirates NBD was one of the founding banks involved in the launch of UAE Trade Connect in 2021. Trade Connect’s first solution was fraud prevention to avoid double financing and invoice fraud. Emirates NBD also participated in Ant Financial’s Trusple trade finance solution.
Bank shareholders in Komgo now include ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Citi, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Emirates NBD, ING, MUFG, Natixis, OCBC Bank, Santander, SMBC, Societe Generale and RaboBank.