2022: Helping businesses through uncertain times
2022 was full of unexpected and unfortunate events, such as the macroeconomic shockwaves from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, worse-than-expected inflation, uncertainty in British politics, and Morocco’s FIFA World Cup fairytale (maybe the only good surprise this year!). As such, many businesses significantly withheld growth (and hence cross-border payments), instead focusing on surviving through this unfavourable operating environment.
Verto is no different and our resilience was tested constantly throughout the year. Despite that, I am glad to witness the tenacity of our team in prioritising our clients and grateful that our clients continued to support our mission to simplify cross-border payments in emerging markets.
We did a great job of increasing our total processed volumes (TPV) to record-breaking numbers despite everything that’s happening in the markets and around the world. We have overshot our 2021 TPV in only 8 months in 2022!
Most importantly, we were able to grow our volumes, while supporting our clients through tough times. Our initiatives in 2022 include:
Continuing to offer zero cross-border payment transaction fees
Matching our GBP/USD, GBP/EUR and EUR/USD FX markups to market leaders
Channelled more liquidity into exotic currency FX pairs to help larger enterprises and SMEs who have a footprint in emerging markets
Our product, teams and geographical footprint have also grown tremendously in 2022.
Last year, our collections product (Global Accounts) went into beta testing in 13 currencies to iron out payment flows and optimise the user experience. Earlier this year, we had a successful, full launch of the Verto Global Accounts. This allowed eligible Verto clients to receive payments in up to 25 currencies from their clients, suppliers and business partners.
I am surprised by how popular and helpful this product is to businesses! Collections via Global Accounts quickly made up 20-30% of our monthly TPV and the uptake has been simply amazing. Global Accounts offer underserved SMEs and emerging market businesses the ability to conduct business internationally, across multiple currencies, globally!
Lastly, another major launch we had from the feedback of our clients is multi-user access. This allows multiple users of the same business (e.g. the accountant, the CFO and the finance analyst) to have different login details and levels of access to the same Verto account. Initially, Verto was built to service SMEs who usually only have 1 person manning the Verto account. As we pivot to serving more enterprise clients, our product has to adapt to meet the needs of larger organisations. The multi-user feature was a significant change from an infrastructure point of view and was made possible because of our extremely talented Tech team.
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We have acquired Locusnine Innovations, our long-time Technology and Development Partner. We relied on them as external contractors for years even though they have worked on countless products, sprints and releases with Anthony (my co-founder) and his team. Therefore, it makes logical sense to finally bring them on as an in-house team instead, crystallising our relationship!
I look forward to seeing more glimpses of their talent, as Verto employees!
Expansion: South Africa
Every year, we have continued to be passionate and curious about solving cross-border payment challenges in emerging markets. We have ambitious plans to expand into key African & Middle Eastern countries such as Kenya, South Africa and the UAE. Setting up shop in a foreign country is never easy because of unfamiliar regulatory frameworks, added operational complexities and teamwork. We have overcome these challenges in our licensing journeys in those countries by working tirelessly and closely with established institutions and regulators. I’m happy to announce that we have gotten our FSP license in South Africa approved as well!
South Africa is a huge market, bustling with international trade and business activity. I’m grateful to be able to bring Verto’s payment rails into this country and I look forward to being able to serve South African businesses’ cross-border payment needs in a compliant, but innovative way!
My biggest takeaway
My biggest takeaway is that B2B cross-border payments are still a difficult problem to solve despite technological improvements and encouragement from regulators. Liquidity challenges in Emerging Africa are worsened by inflationary pressures, as discussed in another Verto blog post here. Moreover, Verto is also feeling the brunt of incumbent banks retreating from emerging market cross-border payment corridors because of risk and lack of profitability, as described by the Bank of International Settlements. This gives me more confidence that Verto is heading in the right direction to potentially make a huge impact on global business by solving cross-border payment challenges in emerging markets.
I am excited for Verto’s journey in 2023 as we continue to expand into emerging markets, offer new clients access to our world-class payments infrastructure and grow our team headcount! We’ve acquired Locusnine Innovations, who have helped Verto develop our product suite since day one, and are looking to become a more global business as we scale.
Have a great Christmas/New Year and thank you for supporting our mission to simplify business cross-border payments in emerging markets!