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.

KOMMERCE TRADE FLOW
Lending in a frontier market requires Collateral Management in order to dis-incentivise importers from defaulting on the Trade Finance credit extended.

In addition to the deposit importers are required to pay, the bill of lading is made out with the Financier as the consignee.

This ensures the Goods can be liquidated by the Financier if the Importer fails to make the balance payment for the Goods.
Kommerce will gather data from all transactions executed on the platform in order to generate transaction histories and Reputation scores for Importers and Exporters, as well as Quality of Service standards for logistics partners.
Completed trades are logged on the Kommerce platform. Each completed trade boosts the Importer’s credit history.

Any failure to complete deals on time (or at all) will similarly be logged and affect the Importer’s credit history. The credit history, however, will not reveal deal-specific information, which is commercially sensitive.

In addition to overall trade history, the Importer’s credit history will also indicate recent behaviour (which is of more immediate concern).
Kommerce will initially fund deals to assist merchants to generate credit history and demonstrate the functioning of the platform.

Upon USD 10m in total trade being recorded on the Kommerce Platform, Kommerce will open the platform to 3rd party lenders that wish to participate on it to fund deals. Kommerce will charge a platform participation fee.

Kommerce will continue to originate trade deals that consume finance in regular and predictable amounts, to scale up the overall volume of trade funded on the platform.

Upon total deal value on the platform averaging USD 200 million monthly over a six month period, Kommerce will then step back from regular funding, and only fund new merchants to help them generate credit history on the platform.
Kommerce Platform intends to work with Pan African Logistics to establish best practices for Collateral Management, as well as data and methodology to construct quality of service metrics. Thereafter, Kommerce will onboard other logistics providers to increase platform capacity.

Due diligence of additional logistics service providers will commence once the 3rd party financier platform is deployed and deals are regularly being completed.

The holding of the goods pending receipt of payment is a key underpin of actual security for lenders. The vetting process will therefore be rigorous and any new logistics service provider party admitted to the platform will only gradually be allowed to scale up volumes of cargo moved and held.
TECHNOLOGIES USED
MEAACT PHOTO / STUART PRICE
  • Self Sovereign Reputation Scores

    This allows merchants on the Kommerce platform to selectively reveal transaction histories to financiers without compromising competitive business sensitive information
  • IoT Tracking

    Enables goods tracking through the logistics pipeline for end-to-end security
  • Distributed Ledger Technology

    Censorship & Fraud resistant document management of trade and logistics activities
  • Smart Contracts

    Automated & Programmable transactions like escrow, settlement & milestone payments
KOMMERCE TEAM
 
Harveen Narulla Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder

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 Teoh Chief Operating Officer & Co-founder

Karen is a former litigation lawyer with more than 10 years of subsequent experience in privately funded startups in the document management  and online platform space. She has built out products incorporating both hardware and software elements, from proof of concept to point of sale.

Karen’s strong organisational ability and her skill at getting to speed quickly while diving in-depth into new spaces, allows the team to bring high level business cases to technical execution.

Markus Kirchberg Chief Information Officer

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 Gollent Chief Technology Officer

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 Lau Chief Experience Officer & Co-founder

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.

Suen Chun Hui Blockchain Lead

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.

Chua Tju Liang Legal Counsel (Chris Chua & Associates)

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".

ADVISORS
 
Eric Fiechter Advisor (Legal and Regulatory Affairs)

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 Kristof Advisor (Blockchain)

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. Currently he is working on yojee.com, a collaborative economy / logistics company, utilizing Ethereum.

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 Advisor (Port operations)

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 Tan Advisor (Impact)

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.

PARTNERS