Nigeria-based trade finance platform FrontEdge has raised US$10mn in a funding round, securing backing from Flexport, TLG Capital and a group of minority investors.  

TLG Capital led the round and, alongside digital freight forwarder Flexport, provided the bulk of the equity and debt-based funding.  

FrontEdge says the additional liquidity will boost plans to roll out existing and new products on its digital trade platform to clients in West Africa, most of which are involved in the trade of soft commodities.  

Since launching in 2021, FrontEdge’s initial focus has been on developing an export factoring solution for African exporters, enabling them to gain quicker access to payments from offshore buyers.  

“A large portion of our clients are in the sesame trade, as well as cocoa buyers, soya companies, largely based in West Africa,” says FrontEdge CEO Moni Alli.  

“They are receiving payment quicker and that reduced wait time allows these companies to increase volumes given they can buy more produce from smallholder farmers… they are also able to better compete in international markets, given African banks do not [provide] non-collateral based lending,” he adds.  

FrontEdge onboards companies onto the platform after reviewing trade documents, such as bills of lading (BLs), and typically looks to finance a selection of invoices based on a firm’s buyer portfolio. 

FrontEdge’s financing pool is backed by several debt funds, trade finance funds and hedge funds in New York. 

Alli tells GTR that the firm is now piloting other solutions with a subset of customers on its platform including for foreign exchange, offshore accounts, cargo insurance as well as logistics, with a view to widening access in 2024.  

Alli says the fintech company also has plans to expand into the East African market sometime next year.