ASB Bank takes stake in distributed ledger startup TradeWindow

ASB Bank takes stake in distributed ledger startup TradeWindow

New Zealand's ASB Bank has taken a stake in early-stage supply chain tech startup TradeWindow.

ASB Bank’s executive general manager of corporate banking, Nigel Annett, will join the company’s board, with ASB Bank taking a "significant" stake in the business.

“What began as collaboration through ASB’s innovation programme to solve a customer problem, is now a fully-fledged business ready to launch,” says Annett. “TradeWindow has the potential to truly transform the way our customers experience the international trade process. By digitising the trade process, businesses will be able to operate more efficiently with trust and security across the globe.”

Last year ASB successfully piloted the TradeWindow platform, executing a trade between a Korean importer and a major Kiwi meat exporter, Greenlea Premier Meats.

TradeWindow uses DLT to create a ‘single trading window’ accessible by all parties involved in the transaction from the importer to the exporter.

TradeWindow founder and CEO, AJ Smith, says the platform significantly reduces the risk of fraud and cyber security threats as edits can only be made with the consensus of the majority of the network.

Smith says the primary benefit arises from the “instantaneous sharing of documentation that is currently couriered at significant cost between the various parties, including exporters, importers, banks, certifiers, and insurance companies. With 12,000 registered exporters in New Zealand it represents a major market opportunity. TradeWindow allows all relevant documents - from certificates to invoices - to be exchanged digitally using one touchpoint”.

The investment comes as TradeWindow looks to roll up two other companies in the sector: Prodoc an export documentation compliance company that creates digital documentation for over 60% of New Zealand’s exports, and; IVS, which assists New Zealand exporters in the forestry, timber and horticultural industries with product certifications and quality assurance.

“The addition of these companies’ services within the TradeWindow eco-system will create significant synergies in verification and documentation compliance for Kiwi producers, and significantly simplify the export process,” says Smith.

The company also has several pilot projects planned and underway with other Kiwi exporters in different sectors, including one with Fiordland Lobster Company, New Zealand’s largest lobster exporter.

Smith says the bank funding and a recent Callaghan Innovation grant will further the research and development of TradeWindow, helping ready the platform for commercialisation: “We aim to announce the release of our first commercial version of the product very shortly.”

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