TAZAPAY, a cloud-based trade-management platform for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), has raised US$3.2 million in funding, the Singapore-headquartered fintech announced on Tuesday.
The investment was led by Sequoia India's scale-up programme Surge, and Saison Capital, the corporate venture arm of Japanese consumer finance firm Credit Saison.
Founded in April 2020, Tazapay provides accessibility to essential financial technology tools and services on its platform, which it says helps to "remove current trust barriers SMBs face when conducting cross-border trade and payments".
These tools enable businesses to minimise uncertainties while expanding to international markets and include payment protection through escrow, company background checks, as well as counter-party risk assessment, Tazapay said.
It added that the fresh funds will be used for product development, hiring talent and expanding to new markets in South-east Asia.
Said Rahul Shinghal, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of Tazapay: "With the pandemic accelerating digitalisation and e-commerce, the trust gap has only widened for SMBs that may be hampered by travel restrictions and (those) unable to safely identify local partners to work with."
The company estimates that the addressable business-to-business cross-border trade and payments sector is worth about US$500 billion in South-east Asia and India, and expects the market to grow by 25 per cent per annum for the next five years.
One of Tazapay's clients is Singapore-based vegan ice cream brand Kind Kones.
Ishpal Bajaj, CEO of Kind Kones, said: "Tazapay has empowered us with the confidence and security to explore international business with new partners. Through the platform, we have been able to formalise trade agreements all in one place, which enables us to eliminate future conflicts and arguments, as all the terms are laid out and agreed upon.
"The escrow service also gives us peace of mind in weeding out fraudulent sellers, as payment will be released only when they ship the items."
Chris Sirisereepaph, partner at Saison Capital, noted that Tazapay is solving multiple pain points for SMBs, which are an "overlooked yet hugely important customer base".
The founding team of Tazapay comprises Arul Kumaravel, Mr Shinghal and Saroj Mishra.
Mr Kumaravel, who spent 15 years at Microsoft, was previously Grab's vice-president of engineering, and head of engineering for Amazon's mobile platform.
Mr Shinghal was managing director of PayPal South-east Asia and head of the Asia-Pacific for Stripe.
Mr Mishra spent 23 years in investment banking, helming senior roles at Standard Chartered and Citibank. He also co-founded Bayfront Capital Advisors, a corporate advisory firm.