Invoice Bazaar, a Dubai-based fintech start-up, has received an investment of an undisclosed amount from Shirish Apte, former CEO and chairman of Asia Pacific, Citi.

Invoice Bazaar offers an online supply chain finance platform built to connect SME suppliers to mid-sized and large buyers in the UAE, and has recently expanded to India and Singapore.

The platform enables suppliers to see the status of their invoices through the mobile app/cloud system, and provides an option to sell their invoices for cash, thereby helping them with their working capital cycle, while helping the buyers optimise their procurement process.

“Having seen the business model of many fintech start-ups that continue to pitch, I found the business model of Invoice Bazaar compelling, as it complements banks’ offering rather than trying to compete with banks,” Apte says. “The marriage of banks with fintechs in my opinion is the model of the future.”

Invoice Bazaar did not wish to disclose the investment amount when contacted by GTR.

“We are very pleased to have Shirish backing us in our endeavour,” says Anand Nagaraj, founder and CEO, who started the company after almost a decade-long career with Citi.

“Shirish is one of the most respected bankers in the industry and his vintage, network and knowledge will help us open more avenues for Invoice Bazaar as we move into our next phase of growth.”

To date, funds for early payments have primarily been generated from non-bank institutions, but the fintech start-up is now looking to partner with local banks to expand their financing to SMEs.

As part of the investment, Apte, who has been with Citi for more than 30 years until his retirement in 2014, will join the advisory board.