UAE-based fintech Maalexi says it has secured US$3mn in a pre-series A funding round led solely by venture capital firm Global Ventures.

The funds will be used to improve the technology of its agri-trade platform and drive customer acquisition, particularly buyers located in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Maalexi says.

The fintech’s aim is to de-risk trade for SME agri buyers and sellers, help them access finance and build resilience in the UAE’s food supply chain by providing a platform that purchases products from SMEs and sells these products to buyers on credit, assessing the performance and creditworthiness of both parties.

Payments are made against blockchain-secured inspection reports and AI-authenticated delivery documents. With the data making the SMEs more bankable, Maalexi’s financial partners are then able to lend to them.

Existing investors include Amsterdam-based investor Rockstart and Ankurit Capital, headquartered in New Delhi.

“The US$3tn global, cross-border food trading market is still weighted against SME agribusinesses. Despite the fact that they constitute 90% of global agribusinesses, they only control 30% of the cross-border trade market,” says Noor Sweid, founder and managing partner of Global Ventures.

“Maalexi’s business model aligns with our thesis on the role of technology in disintermediating supply chains to make them more efficient and productive, as well as reducing the Gulf Cooperation Council’s 85% dependency on food imports,” Sweid adds.

Maalexi says it has helped SME buyers procure millions of kilograms of food supplies across 70 products, from 27 countries.