European fintech Modifi is looking to encourage international development through trade finance with the launch of its innovative new product this month.
The team behind the successful payments provider BillPay have created an entirely digital platform through which small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) can receive trade finance.
MODIFI’s new digital ‘Buyer Finance’ is the first of many steps in reaching the company’s broader mission, according to CEO and co-founder Nelson Holzner. “We believe that trade is a key driver for global development. With our new platform, we can facilitate trade of goods for thousands of underserved companies, benefitting local economies. We want to make a positive impact, particularly in less-developed markets where businesses suffer most from the inadequacies of the current trade finance system.”
SMEs, who contribute around 30% of global trade, have so far been frustrated by traditional trade finance offerings. Due to inflexible methods of onboarding and an unwillingness to take on the risks that smaller companies often pose, every other financing request by SMEs is rejected by banks, resulting in a $1.5 trillion funding gap annually. Moreover, 60% of rejected trades collapse due to the lack of financing, with serious consequences for businesses, particularly in emerging markets. SMEs face not only the possibility of rejection, but also cumbersome paperwork, slow response times and a confusing array of products. In businesses where liquidity concerns are pressing, these issues can be considerably detrimental to growth.
Like other innovative fintechs, MODIFI has developed simple tech solutions as a way of modernising an idle industry. Doing away with the paperwork and constant back and forth between lender and company, MODIFI allows SMEs to apply for import financing in less than ten minutes online. Responses generally come within 48 hours, allowing customers to grow their business through increased buying power and to become more profitable by securing early payment discounts.
The company’s digital-first approach is reflected in their partnership with the innovative solarisBank, MODIFI’s licensed banking partner. The API integration of solarisBank’s services enables MODIFI to offer a fully digital end-to-end process from identification (KYC) to payout. Consequently, pricing is low and transparent, starting at just 0.99% per 30 days and with repayment terms of up to 120 days.
“With our Banking-as-a-Service platform we create an ecosystem for innovative businesses to offer pioneering products. We are proud to enable MODIFI to launch their mission of digitizing the underserved trade finance market”, says Jörg Diewald, CCO solarisBank.
Together, the trio of founders (Nelson Holzner (CEO), Sven Brauer (COO) and Jan Wehrs (CTO)) already successfully built and scaled fintech venture BillPay. Dubbed the ‘Paypal of Germany’ by Techcrunch, the payments service provider was sold to Klarna last year in one of Europe’s largest FinTech acquisitions. Now, the founders pursue even greater ambitions for MODIFI, with plans for new products and a global expansion already very much in place.