Investment will support further adoption of network, now live in 25 countries with 13 banks
17 June 2021: Digital trade finance network Contour has completed its Series A+ fundraising round, securing investment from leading regional and global trade banks as its technology continues to be deployed by banks, corporates and partners across the globe.
Its existing and new shareholders include Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, Citi, CTBC, HSBC, ING, SEB, SMBC, and Standard Chartered. These institutions are also working to drive adoption of the network amongst their own global communities of bank and corporate clients. Contour’s non-bank shareholders include R3, Bain & Company and CryptoBLK.
Contour raised the funds to support the traction it has built across the industry and the growth in demand for its services. Beyond its fully digitised Letter of Credit (LC) service that is currently in live production, Contour will soon expand into other areas of trade finance to bring greater value to its members. It has already formed an in-house development team to experiment with new trade product offerings and is expected to double its size in the next year.
Contour has quickly become a leading player in the trade finance space since forming in January 2020 and going live as a beta network. After conducting successful trials with 80+ banks and corporates in over 17 countries, Contour transitioned into live production in October 2020 – becoming the world’s first open-to-all, decentralised trade finance network. 13 institutions are now using Contour’s technology with their customers in a live business environment across 25 countries.
Together with its network, Contour is building an end-to-end Trade Service that connects businesses, financiers and partners seamlessly across the financial and physical supply chains. A wide and growing range of industries, such as metals, energy, petrochemicals, textiles, soft commodities and retail have conducted successful LC transactions on the Contour network.
Contour continues to win industry accolades, including being named Leader in Trade for Digitalisation at the 2021 GTR Awards, and Best New Trade Finance Technology Solution Provider in Asia and Singapore at the 2021 Global Banking & Finance Awards.
Carl Wegner, CEO at Contour said: “Contour’s success is proof that trade finance is the leading use case for enterprise blockchain, and the rapidly growing adoption of our network shows the market is ready and eager to digitise. With this investment, we move ever-closer to realising our vision of becoming the new global standard for trade finance by simplifying and removing barriers in the trade ecosystem, making the industry economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.”
Jean-François Denis, Global Head, Trade Solutions at BNP Paribas said: “Through its participation in the Series A+ fundraising, BNP Paribas shows its continued commitment to the Contour initiative which is now in production. BNP Paribas endorses and promotes solutions for a simplified, automated and digital treatment of LC’s, and of trade in general. A wide market acceptance of a platform like Contour should ultimately benefit all players in the trade ecosystem by taking away the pain points the market has struggled with for a long time.”
Catherine Zhou, Global Head of Venture, Digital Innovation and Partnerships at HSBC said: “Working with Contour, we have helped to develop this block-chain Letter of Credit solution with our clients – and several have now started using the platform and are looking to scale their operations onto it. As the world’s largest trade bank, we see huge opportunities to continue our collaboration with Contour to make trade simpler, faster and more secure for businesses, helping them to grow and economies to prosper.”
Kristina Söderberg, Investment manager at SEB Venture Capital said: “The Contour network is now delivering concrete customer value. SEB continues to invest to support the digitisation of trade finance. We see a growing interest amongst banks and corporate customers to use these services. Also strategic partners show great interest in collaborating to support digitisation across the whole transaction value chain.”