One-stop solution for cross-border trade and logistics 1Export’s focus on SME empowerment impressed the judging panel, who unanimously chose the startup as the 2022 GTR Ventures Tradetech Showcase winner.


Philippines-based startup 1Export, which works to help Southeast Asian micro, small and medium enterprises with their exporting needs, triumphed at the 2022 GTR Ventures Tradetech Showcase as judges picked its proposition as the most likely to shape the future of trade.

Now in its fifth year, with Origin Capital Management as its global venture capital partner, Infobip and Amazon Web Services as supporting technology partners, the GTR Ventures Tradetech Showcase offers a platform for promising entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to potential mentors and investors. In the run-up to the 2022 competition, applications came in from a diverse group of startups, each tackling some of the biggest pain points across the trade ecosystem, from cumbersome manual processes to barriers to entering new markets and the lack of availability of trade finance.

These entries were whittled down to a shortlist of four applicants. Aside from 1Export, these were cognitive automation software provider Glee Trees, supply chain finance and digital lending technology company Veefin, and Doxa, a fintech start-up aiming to connect and digitalise the workflow of buyers, suppliers, and financiers.

At the final judging panel held during the GTR Asia event in Singapore last year, the shortlisted companies delivered short presentations on their solution before being quizzed by a group of expert judges – Pamela Mar, managing director of the ICC Digital Standards Initiative; Ruoyun Yang, head of Asia at Lendable; and Pamela Woon, regional head of business information, Asia Pacific at Coface.

As part of the selection criteria, the judges assessed the expertise of the startup founders, the originality and scalability of their idea, its ability to be monetised, and the quality of the business model, technology, and IP assets.

Presenting her company’s solution, Anna Melissa Nava, co-founder and CEO at 1Export, explained: “We help small businesses go global by addressing three problems: compliance, distribution and logistics. The problem that we are trying to solve is that it is very difficult to get products from Southeast Asia to the rest of the world. Processing documents to get a basic compliance assay takes at least one year, while exorbitant logistics costs and distribution difficulties mean it can take at least four years for a product from the region to get to a supermarket abroad.”

1Export’s solution neatly tackles these issues by automating the compliance process through its own database of local and foreign documents, labels, and other country-specific requirements, bringing down the average time to complete the process to just 14 days, while its distribution channels connect SMEs to different online and offline channels in major markets. Meanwhile, its Ship It platform allows SMEs to ship their goods flexibly and cost-efficiently.

“We have the network, the infrastructure and the scale which means we’re able to bring costs down significantly,” said Nava, adding that the company has partnered with over 200 brokers around the world to ensure global reach for its solution.

With many conversations at GTR Asia centring around the difficulties faced by SMEs to access the finance and technology that would enable them to trade internationally and fulfil their potential as drivers of economic growth, 1Export’s value proposition and focus on enabling SME trade set it apart as a clear winner.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the global economy, providing the majority of jobs, and yet they are hamstrung when it comes to growth,” said the ICC DSI’s Mar. “The solution for them is to hitch on to global trade and ride the wave. The opportunity is gigantic.”

“1Export represents a really interesting solution to meet the needs of the underserved SME population. This will not only help SMEs to diversify their markets, but it’s also a really scalable model with its suite of solutions as the SME grow and expand,” added Coface’s Woon.

As the winner of the showcase, 1Export receives US$25,000 in Amazon Web Services cloud credits and US$20,000 in credits for Infobip communication products and services.

“As always, we heard exceptional pitches from all of our entries for the GTR Ventures TradeTech Showcase 2022 but 1Export just managed to stand out from the crowd,” says Rupert Sayer, co-founder and CEO of GTR Ventures, which has supported and invested in several trade and trade finance-related early-stage companies since 2017, including Incomlend, Tradeteq and Culum Capital.

“The competition and conference have been a great opportunity to validate the things we’ve been doing, and the feedback from the judges has been very helpful in the way we look at trading, financing, and logistics in the Asia Pacific region,” Nava tells GTR.

The startup says it now plans to expand its operations in three more key markets over the next six months, and will start pilots of its compliance technology software with major logistics providers.


Launched in 2018, the GTR Ventures Tradetech Showcase identifies the most relevant trade innovation trends and offers a platform for promising tradetech startups to pitch their ideas to potential mentors and investors. For the past five years, the showcase has partnered with GTR Asia, the world’s largest trade finance event, ensuring maximum exposure for the shortlisted finalists.