Kommerce was founded by Harveen Narulla, Karen Teoh and Dustin Lau in response to the large and persistent gap in trade finance in Africa.
An introduction to a Rwandan kiosk shop owner’s challenges with credit, became an exploration of systemic reasons for the trade finance gap in Africa, and eventually a realisation that blockchain technology holds the keys to solve this problem.
Trade is a key lever for people in Africa to improve incomes and achieve prosperity.
Kommerce deploys blockchain, cryptocurrency and data analysis to empower African businesses to access capital markets - and for capital markets to safely and efficiently finance African businesses.
Harveen is an entrepreneur. After an early career as a lawyer with top-tier firms in Singapore, he spent a decade in various lead roles in technology ventures.
This included co-founding and heading Hatcher, a leading technology venture builder in Singapore, whose portfolio includes Dropsuite (ASX:DSE), Telr (Middle East’s fastest growing online payment processor), SocialCops (India’s leading comprehensive big data play) and Hatcher+ (big data transforming venture capital investing).
Harveen also co-founded Pan African Logistics (PAL), which has grown into a leading third-party logistics player in East Africa.
Harveen’s key competences include assembling and aligning strong teams, marshaling resources to start and grow businesses, deal negotiation and acquisitions, spotting arbitrage opportunities, and interventionist and supporting board roles.
Karen is a former litigation lawyer with more than a decade of experience in hardware and software product development in the document management space, from proof of concept to point of sale. Her subsequent experience in executive search has proved invaluable in assembling the team.
Karen functions as the Economist in the team, and her ability to quickly build skill trees in Game Theory, Graph Theory and Transaction Cost Economics allow Kommerce to explore the available facets of being a multi-sided platform.
Markus holds a PhD in Information Systems with specialisation in distributed database systems and has over 20 years of experience in applied research and technology-driven innovation.
He has a proven track record of designing and building novel, yet commercially successful solutions across industries like healthcare, logistics, payments analytics & processing, risk management, compromise & fraud detection/prediction, as well as transportation.
Markus’ repertoire of skills includes full innovation life-cycle management, infrastructure automation, cloud computing, data management at multi-petabyte scale, data privacy, deep learning, emerging technologies, Internet-of-Things, large-scale data analytics and extreme transaction processing.
Roman has been fixing IT related problems across a variety of technologies, functions, and industries for nearly two and a half decades, with a predominant focus on large scale systems and security.
Although he has spent the majority of his time in the financial industry, he has also invested significant time into working with a diverse range of startups, from construction B2B to ticketing to advertising and gaming. This ideally positions him to straddle the complexities and idiosyncrasies associated with a fintech venture.
His original plan to become a scientist was sidetracked when, upon entering university, he witnessed the transition to today's Internet, the birth of the World Wide Web and discovered his love for UNIX.
Dustin has more than 16 years of experience in Broadcast Media and Television Production as a writer, producer, director, editor, camera operator & broadcast engineer for documentaries, TV Commercials, corporate films and long form television programmes with companies like ESPN Star Sports, Fox International Channels, Sunset+Vine Asia and Netflix.
His background in building computers, IP networks and storage systems for media applications have resulted in hybrid roles for most of his career as a technologist in the creative media space, designing user-centric workflows with an engineer’s mindset, while also visualising new creative possibilities afforded by emerging new technologies.
Chun Hui is an engineer and researcher with a PhD in Electrical Engineering with specialisation in trusted systems and virtualization, with over 10 years of experience in applied research, software development and deployment.
He has worked on both public and private blockchain technologies, as well as linux kernel development, different hypervisors, cloud and data infrastructures. He has successfully developed and deployed cloud, big data and blockchain solutions, especially in the banking and finance industry.
Chun Hui's skillset includes having a deep technical background in security, system infrastructure and blockchain, and a strong software design, development and devops experience.
Tju Liang is a corporate and securities lawyer with almost two decades of experience. He was previously a partner of a white shoe US law firm, and has been based in London, Jakarta, and Shanghai, where he focused on inbound and outbound transactions for over 7 years.
Tju Liang has expertise in a broad range of corporate transactions, and has advised on some of the most significant M&A deals between Asia and the Americas. He is also active in the Singapore startup ecosystem, having worked on some of the most significant exits in Singapore, including of the top funded fintech startups.
Tju Liang has been ranked in top legal publications Chambers Global and Asia-Pacific Legal 500, where clients complimented his "exceptional negotiation skills" and praised him as "clearly a really smart guy".
Jamie worked in upper-tier Audit Firms for 5 years in Singapore, rising to be Assistant Manager. She managed her own portfolio of clients which consisted of SMEs, MNCs and Public-listed Companies.
Seeking more exposure across businesses, she left the audit industry and worked for a factoring company providing working capital solutions to SMEs. She then joined Pan-African Logistics (PAL), a leading East African third-party logistics service provider in an operations and finance role. Jamie was based in Rwanda for this, and was PAL’s Assistant Managing Director, overseeing day-to-day operations.
Jamie is a highly motivated Individual, having a keen eye for detail and strong organisational skills. She has developed a good understanding of African markets and business culture and brings this to her role with Kommerce.
Eric Fiechter has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the law, during which he was involved in much of the innovation in the financial sector that drove Switzerland’s growth into a jurisdiction of choice. Eric graduated from the Geneva Law School in 1973 and also holds a Masters degree from New York University (1975). He has been a member of the Geneva Bar since 1977. Eric initially practiced law in New York, followed by 32 years at the law offices of Secretan Troyanov in Geneva.
Eric’s advisory practice spans Banking and Finance, Corporate and Commercial, Trust and Private Clients, and Dispute Resolution. Eric has been an accredited Mediator since 2002 and is also an experienced arbitrator and counsel in arbitration proceeding (using both ICC and Swiss Rules). Eric served as Deputy Judge at the Geneva Court of Appeals from 1997 to 2011.
Eric continues as attorney at law in Geneva with the Swiss law firm Des Gouttes & Associés, while offering his services in Singapore as a business consultant and a mediator at ASBS Pte. Ltd. (Asian Swiss Business Services).
Andras is an entrepreneur, investor and technical consultant living in Singapore. He built the technology behind viki.com, Singapore's largest exit so far. He has been involved in blockchain development since 2013.
Andras founded Tembusu Systems, deploying the first Bitcoin vending machine in early 2014, then forked Ripple and built a distributed asset management system. He is a cofounder of Akomba Labs, a Blockchain firm focused on bringing feasibility, accountability, and well structured economics to blockchain’s wild west.
Andras is active in the blockchain community providing technical advice for projects incorporating smart contracts on Ethereum. He has a passion for projects that drive systemic applications of blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.
Pradeep Avadhani consults to the African port sector.
Pradeep began his career with the Port of Singapore (PSA) in 2001 and subsequently spent ten years involved with the expansion into African port operations of Portek (then listed on the Singapore Exchange).
In Algeria, North Africa, Pradeep converted a conventional port into a modern container terminal, the first of its kind along the Algerian coast. He played a lead role setting up and operationalizing the project. Pradeep then played a key role in negotiating a 25 year concession for Portek to operate in the ports of Gabon, and the acquisition of the largest inland port and bonded warehousing facility in Rwanda (Magerwa).
Pradeep assumed the role of CEO of Magerwa in 2011 and was concurrently Portek’s Head of Africa, a region that accounted for 65% of the group’s turnover.
From the end of 2013 Pradeep had provided independent consultancy. He advised intensively the Gabon Special Economic Zone from 2014 to 2017 on construction of a multi-purpose terminal, as well as a minerals terminal, taking both projects from greenfield to full operationalisation.
Audrey attended Stanford’s prestigious technology entrepreneurship program as part of the National University of Singapore’s Overseas College. Her thesis was on 'Persuasive Technology and Games for Savings and Money Management'.
In Silicon Valley, Audrey rallied product marketing and business development at Qik, (acquired by Skype). On her return to Singapore Audrey set up PlayMoolah, an award winning social enterprise that educates children, parents and young adults about positive relationships to money. Its programs impacted over 70,000 users worldwide.
Since 2016, Audrey has supported woman-led impact businesses in ASEAN through her social enterprise Angels of Impact. It has won customers such as Google, Facebook, Bloomberg for the 8 enterprises it supports.