VertoFX raises $2M for its African and EM currency trading platform

VertoFX, an Africa and emerging markets-focused currency trading and payment startup, has raised a $2.1 million seed round, led by Accelerated Digital Ventures.

The London-based company, with a subsidiary in Lagos, Nigeria, has created a platform that allows businesses and banks to exchange and make payments in exotic foreign currencies that don’t often convert or trade conveniently across businesses or banks.

For example, South Africa’s Rand is Africa’s most convertible and traded currency — with lower spreads and transaction costs — while currencies of countries such as Ethiopia or Egypt may be difficult or expensive to trade or transact B2B payments.

“That’s the reason we are utilizing technology to create a marketplace model and price discovery to create liquidity for these currencies,” VertoFX founder Ola Oyetayo told TechCrunch.

There are around 40 global currencies that are considered exotic or illiquid, most of them in frontier markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle-East, according to Oyetayo.

And there’s a revenue opportunity to creating a convenient online marketplace for trading and payments in these currencies.

“Our research says there’s about $400 billion being done by small and medium-scale businesses in Africa alone in transactional volume on an annual basis. If we

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