EuropeFinance and Insurance

Maersk invests in German trade finance platform

Maersk’s growing ambitions in the realms of trade finance have seen the Danish carrier invest in a German startup.

Financing platform Modifi raised EUR5.5m in its second round of capital raising with Maersk Growth, the corporate venture arm of A.P. Moller-Maersk, as the lead investor.

The Modifi (Modern Digital Finance) platform was founded in November last year by three Germans who had previously been involved in Billpay, a service provider for the settlement of bill payments, bought two years ago by the Swedish payment service provider Klarna.

Using Modifi, traders can pre-finance individual orders worth between EUR5,000 and EUR75,000. The service is aimed at small and medium-sized companies that buy goods abroad.

“Maersk’s investment is an accolade for our mission to digitise trade finance,” CEO Nelson Holzner told German media yesterday. “We believe this partnership offers many opportunities to collaborate beyond just funding.”
Modifi said the new investment would see the platform target India for business, a nation Maersk has also been focusing on in its nascent trade finance initiatives.

On the Modifi website, it states that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) contribute around 30% of volumes of world trade. Finance is usually required to facilitate these trades, but banks reject more than 50% of SME trade finance requests, according to Modifi. This has resulted in a funding gap of $1.5trn.

Three years ago Maersk moved into the trade finance arena offering import and export financing as well as structured finance solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises in selected countries around the world.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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