Singapore's StarHub has teamed up with Prudential to launch a blockchain based digital trade platform for SMEs.
The new Fasttrack Trade (FTT) platform will allow SMEs to seek business partners and distributors, buy and sell goods, track shipments, receive and make payments, access financing and buy insurance via a single platform. The platform is being developed by fintech startup Cites Gestion with funding from Prudential.
FTT is powered by distributed ledger technology which aims to establish trust among SMEs through the sharing of a common audit trail between counterparties on the platform.
Every transaction on FTT is recorded and traceable to improve the security, speed and cost effectiveness of conducting trade transactions and accessing financing. For instance, for transaction values of between S$3,000 and S$20,000, an SME can get access to financing within 24 hours.
Under the partnership, StarHub will offer its SME customers access to FTT’s services while Prudential will offer insurance to help them mitigate business risks. The platform also provides alternative financing options to SMEs through Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lender.
More service providers from the financing, business intelligence, payments and logistics sectors are expected to join the FTT by the time it is commercially launched in the first quarter of 2018.
The partnership between Prudential and StarHub marks the start of a broader plan to create a digital B2B marketplace powered by StarHub. This will bring together a network of service providers across multiple industries to support the business expansion of SMEs.
Stephanie Simonnet, Chief Partnerships Distribution Officer at Prudential Singapore, said that such insurer-telco-fintech collaboration is the first of its kind in Singapore and opens up opportunities for all parties to reach a wider customer base with innovative business solutions, and to share expertise.
“We are creating a digital ecosystem based on cross-industry collaboration that will transform commerce and drive the growth of enterprises. Convenient and affordable access to non-traditional sources of funding and to protection will help smaller businesses fulfil their growth ambitions and manage risk. For Prudential, FTT will help drive engagement with a new group of enterprise customers,” she said.
First published in SMBWorld Asia