Deutsche Bank acquires stake in FinTech TrustBills

TrustBills is a FinTech company established in 2015 and based in Hamburg, Germany. TrustBills claims to be the first online auction platform for selling and buying national and international trade receivables in a True Sale. They also claim to be the first company to use artificial intelligence in trade finance – although I guess they haven’t heard of Flowcast.

Back in May 2016, DZ Bank, Germany's fourth largest bank,  acquired a 25% share in TrustBill.  Not to be outdone, Deutsche Bank last month announced the acquisition of a 12.5 percent share interest.

I tried to reach out to TrustBills but they remain in stealth mode. Former banker Markus Wohlgeschaffen, who ran Unicredit’s global trade product, is now SVP of corporate solutions.  I was told by Yvonne Harr, their marketing and communications manager, that their  management team has decided to remain secretive about TrustBills until it will be launched. All she said was TrustBills goes far beyond any currently available receivables marketplaces.

On their website, they talk about their technology, process and advantages:

  • Speed: TrustBills is fast due to artificial intelligence-based fraud and dilution risk detection combined with rapid auction market mechanisms and the avoidance of a lengthy credit process.
  • Fairness: TrustBills is fair because sellers of receivables are free to set their own terms such as the minimum price for the sale of their receivables.
  • Convenience: TrustBills is convenient because it optionally embeds receivables confirmations and a full service payment functionality with fully integrated EBICS and SWIFT protocol cores.
  • KYC-Compliance: Each client has to pass the “Know Your Client“ authentification process with one of the selected TrustBills partner banks before being accepted to trade on the platform.

Source: TrustBills

Their goal is to become an international receivables market place for companies of all sizes.

As to Deutsche Bank, Michael Spiegel, Head of Global Transaction Banking commented in a press release “Advancements in technology will significantly change the trade finance market. The digital solution offered by TrustBills is an excellent add-on to our value proposition in corporate banking.

It has been a long journey for another active receivables platform – LiquidX – who I wrote about here. The trading platform (www.liquidx.com) has executed over $12 billion of traded volume and processed over $50 billion in post-trade settlement to date.

The challenge in these solutions is to convince companies of the value of alternative liquidity. For example, LiquidX is finding success in places they did not expect, such as situations where leverage ratios are closely watched or helping commodity companies in the sub investment grade space deal with term extension.

All in all, as new FinTech solutions look to bring a capital markets approach to Trade Finance and Working Capital, I am sure there will be plenty of interest on behalf of investors.

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