As a short-term exporter, Mahabir Jain had to make frequent visits to his bank whenever he had to send an invoice abroad. There you have to fill the form, pay the fee, issue the LOC, discuss and finalize the foreign exchange rate, etc. He seemed to be spending more time and energy completing the paperwork than closing the export agreement. Only then can he learn about EximPe. “Before, my whole business was manual and paper-based. Thanks to EximPe, I manage all my cross-border transactions comfortably in my office and save 8-10 hours per month, ”says Jain of Laxman Group.
Launched in 2021, EximPe is a platform that helps SMEs comply with compliance rules by providing cross-border payments and providing a completely paperless digital process for inbound and outbound remittances. The digitized workflow it offers using technology enables Indian companies to compete in the global market. More than 1,000 SMEs have already signed up with EximPe, and many more are on the waiting list.
“EximPe was inspired by the experience and inefficiency that I encountered during the process of building the $ 10-million cross-border business in the Indo-Southeast Asia-China trade corridor,” said Arjun Abraham Zakaria, its founder. Prior to the founding of EximPe, the serial entrepreneur created Wooplr, India’s first social trading platform, and scaled it to $ 50 million GMV with activities across India, China and Southeast Asia.
He noted that over the decades, exporters and importers have had to pay higher fees to banks, which averaged 2-3% and sometimes up to 10%. “Typically, if a trader makes a $ 5,000 transaction, the bank charges a commission of at least $ 100. However, if the traders negotiate, the bank fee can be reduced. This indicates that there are no actual rules or policies on how much commission or fee traders should charge for each transaction, ”he said.
SMEs have small but frequent orders, which not only cost a lot of money in multiple transactions but also make the whole ecosystem opaque in nature. “SMEs, especially those that have just started, are not aware of the compliance requirements for cross-border financing, such as the BOE (Bill of Exchange) regulation for imports and exports, which, if not done for every financing, may even blacklist traders. Also, this compliance process is manual- and paper-heavy, which adds to the hassle of running a business, ”Zakaria noted.
MM Huzeifa, owner of Huzeifa Imports, agrees: “I am a small trader who imports equipment; I save over Rs 15,000 per month because of the best rates I’ve found on EximPe. “
EximPe’s primary focus is currently expanding its customer base. The value of transactions on the platform varies from $ 5,000 to $ 50,000. “We’re fine-tuning the process before setting it up for a larger customer base. The company has already surpassed the $ 20-million TPV (Total Payment Volume) run rate and is set to surpass the $ 100-million TPV run-rate by the end of 2022, “said Zakaria.” “The company’s current priority is to increase its customer base and TPV. We will make money in the future through transaction fees and financial offers.”
The startup has so far raised $ 3.5 million in a seed fund round anchored by Leo Capital, which also includes other VCs such as Arab Investments, Founder Bank Capital, ICID Ventures, 2AM VC, LetsVenture and Boldcap. Angels like Kunal Shah Investors, Founders, Creds; Rajesh Raju, Managing Director, Kalari Capital; Alex Wehr, partner, Firestartr.vc; And Aprameya Radhakrishnan, co-founder and CEO, has invested in Kuo Cross-Border Payment Startup.