Henley-in-Arden, UK, 25 November 2013. Kwanji, a UK based tech start-up working to simplify foreign exchange mechanisms for small businesses, has completed an initial seed funding round.
Mercia Fund Management Ltd (MFM), a Venture Capital Fund that has helped seed successful companies such as Smart Antennae Technologies, Allinea Software and Warwick Audio Technologies, led a consortium of investors under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
The funds will be used to further develop Kwanji’s Kwexc platform, an online foreign exchange portal which enables small businesses from all over the world to choose the best foreign exchange mechanism and transaction rate at the touch of a button. It can best be described as ‘Match.com’ for foreign exchange.
This highly disruptive platform developed by Kwanji reduces high cost and the time wasted comparing brokers. Kwexc will make the unnecessary costs associated with banks and credit card companies a thing of the past. From introduction through to execution, Kwexc provides the perfect setting for seamless international business.
Currently, foreign exchange rates can be anywhere between 2 to 8% on any transaction – a UK business making an order worth £50,000 can lose between £1,000 and £4,000. This is tantamount to an official levy.
In contrast, Kwexc charges just 1-1.5% on any such transaction. While banks and international payment mechanisms like Paypal are easy to use, they are designed for the individual consumer and charge the business or merchant heavily. Initial trades on Kwexc have been able to save 8% over Paypal, 7% over Western Union, 4% over credit cards and 4% over high street banks.
Kwanji started trading in 2013 with tech entrepreneurs Leslie Onyesoh and William Lorenz at the helm. Between them, they have over 25 years of experience in the foreign exchange, payments and international trade markets.
Leslie Onyesoh, CEO of Kwanji commented on his business and new funding: “We saw that businesses are at a competitive disadvantage when trading internationally. Foreign exchange is complicated, time consuming and expensive- SMEs just do not have the expertise or resources to get the best deal. We have developed Kwexc to level the playing field and we are delighted to have received our first round of funding.”
Tim Hazell, Co-founder and Senior Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Management Ltd added: “We believe that this is a sector where Kwanji’s innovative and scalable approach will be readily welcomed and that the management team at Kwanji has the required experience and expertise in both this sector and in growing early stage financial technology businesses.”
Kwanji was started with a simple vision- to make global trade easier: to create a level playing field for global e-commerce from which all businesses can benefit, regardless of size or location. Kwanji wants, in short, to give all businesses the opportunity to access the efficiencies currently reserved for the big players. We achieve this by developing a comprehensive and complementary suite of tools which together bring ‘point and click’ efficiencies to international trading. Kwexc is the first exciting service to be delivered on the road to achieving that vision.
About Mercia Fund Management
Mercia Fund Management (MFM) is a venture capital fund manager with over £19 million under active management.
MFM provides investment growth capital for businesses with a range of funding requirements from pre revenue businesses looking to establish early commercial traction through to those seeking expansion or working capital that are trading profitably. A high proportion of its investments are in businesses with innovative technology.
MFM is an FCA authorised and regulated fund manager under FSMA (FRN: 524856).