Trade finance technology firm Traydstream has hired Jerry Shikhule as a global sales and origination lead for Africa, based in Nairobi.

Having started last week, Shikhule reports to Traydstream’s chief revenue officer (CRO), Uzair Bawany, and is responsible for banks and corporates on the continent, with a primary focus on deal origination.

A spokesperson for Traydstream says that the hire marks the start of the firm’s expansion in Africa, as it looks to build on its existing client base.

The firm counts Standard Bank as one of its main clients, and has seen significant interest from bank and corporates in East Africa, they add.

Shikhule joins Tradystream from Kenyan software company Craft Silicon, where he had been serving as an enterprise sales lead since June 2020. He held a number of other sales roles at technology firms in Nairobi, including Comviva, Oracle and Sage, in the seven years prior to this.

Traydstream’s solution is targeted at both banks and corporates, and uses optical character recognition (OCR) to read, scan and structure paper-based information digitally. Meanwhile, it uses machine learning to automate the scrutiny, clause matching, rules and compliance-checking processes.

Speaking about his new role, Shikhule says: “Trade flows across Africa have been steadily increasing over the past several years and businesses are eager to embrace new automation and AI [artificial intelligence] technologies that will allow them to leapfrog traditional players.”

“Over the past six months, Traydstream has been looking for talented people, with good local knowledge and the right global mindset, to raise awareness of our solution in the fastest growing markets,” CRO Bawany, adds.

According to the Traydstream spokesperson, sales will be a big focus for the firm this year, and a number of further sales and origination hires will be made across Africa, the Middle East and the Americas in the coming months.

The firm announced the hire of two other sales and origination leads last year, bringing in Moshe Wolfson and Adam Kasraoui to target the European and Middle East markets respectively.