Tinubu Square, a software provider of trade credit, surety and trade finance solutions, is putting innovation at the forefront of its offering, launching a new lab to explore APIs, blockchain, artificial intelligence and other new technologies together with its clients.

The launch comes in response to a growing interest from the firm’s customers to collaborate on the development and testing of innovative applications for the credit insurance and trade finance industry. As such, the lab will work closely with clients on specific use cases. One of its first partners will be Export Development Canada, Canada’s export credit agency.

“The idea is to carry out proofs of concepts at the beginning, to investigate the technologies and make sure we understand them. We can then work with customers to move beyond the proof of concept, making prototypes that they can use with their own customers, and assess what should be brought to the global market,” says Sébastien Méric, who has been appointed head of the new innovation lab. He was previously the firm’s chief technology officer.

Speaking to GTR, he says the new lab will allow Tinubu Square to take a more structured and proactive approach to exploring how it can incorporate new toolsets to its platform.

And if a technology does not work, the firm is prepared to do away with it altogether.

“We will try the technology and if it doesn’t work, we will stop and start a new project,” Méric says. “Every nine weeks we look at whether the project we started has potential for the future or if we should change the way we approach the subject and change our focus when it doesn’t make sense.”

For a start, the lab will be focusing on three key technologies where Tinubu Square is seeing the greatest potential: advanced integration through APIs, blockchain and deep analytics.

“One of the main changes that is coming is the fact that people now want integrated services. Businesses don’t want to go to one place for one service and another for a different service. One way is through open APIs,” Méric says.

Another way to integrate services is through blockchain technology, he adds. One use case the firm will be looking at is blockchain for secured B2B end-to-end transaction workflows.

The final area of focus, Méric says, is around the decision-making process. Here the firm will explore, among other things, the use of artificial intelligence to support the work of collecting and analysing data, and assessing the credit risk.

The firm will make a number of hires to the new team, as well as work with external contractors on the development of the technologies.