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Rebecca Wayman

Two entrepreneurs raise $2.1m seed funding to scale operations internationally

London-based VertoFX is aiming to solve issues in cross-border payments focusing on businesses in emerging markets, and is scaling operations into Africa.

The startup was part of the latest YCombinator cohort - of winter 2019 - and has seen 20 per cent month-on-month growth in transaction volumes since its inception.

Founded in 2017 by Nigerian-born, British ex-bankers Anthony Oduwole and Ola Oyetayo, VertoFX provides a one-stop service allowing companies gain access to foreign currencies and make international payments to its suppliers abroad.

Ola Oyetayo, CEO and co-founder, said: “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.”

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.

Cross-border payments and foreign exchange are complex and largely depend on correspondent banking infrastructure. Current solutions from incumbents such as banks 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 aims to provide a solution for this with its tech-stack and marketplace business model. It connects these companies and uses its networks of banks and infrastructure relationships to provide simpler settlement times plus liquidity in local currencies.

The investment will be used to scale technology; launch in additional markets; expand its operations; and increase the number of currencies it can offer on its platform. VertoFX also plans to increase its banking network and partnerships.

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