Andrew Raymond, CEO

From design to launch – Galileo made for an exciting first 12 months as CEO

I’m happy to report it’s been a year of real progress since I took the helm as CEO of Bolero.

The high-point, by a nautical mile, remains the successful launch in February of Galileo, our new digital trade platform. We designed it to solve some of the key challenges faced by our customers – banks, corporates and carriers – and all the early signs are that we succeeded.

The positive responses to Galileo are a tribute to the skill of the staff who worked on it, led by Anchal Tiwari, our head of product management who joined us in July. We have designed Galileo to keep the customer experience central, facilitating seamless, interactive digital conversations. As things stand, it is the only digital platform that enables the convergence of physical and financial supply chain by incorporating multi-banking capability with Electronic Bills of Lading flows.

Our corporate clients already tell us they love accessing all our services through the single user interface we designed. They get end-to-end visibility of their transactions and the ability to connect with their counterparties and multiple banks.

So we have every reason to be proud of our new platform. Galileo is making a real difference, delivering genuine gains in efficiency and opening up new opportunities for our clients.

But, of course, it’s not a case of “Job done”. When I took over as CEO, I promised that we would really listen to and respond to our clients’ feedback. This is exactly what we are continuing to do. Bolero will lead with product innovation to enable full digital flows.

As we move forward, this will be delivered in different ways. We will be shifting from the traditional fintech approach of building everything ourselves to a more collaborative strategy. This means the value-added services we built into Galileo will expand to include best-in-class functionality offered by our partners working in adjacent areas. This is an exciting direction for us to travel in, and I look forward to delivering some great new features for our customers. Anchal will certainly be in the driving seat for much of this.

I can’t review my first 12 months however, without addressing the Covid-19 crisis, which, for me, is sadly reminiscent of the SARS outbreak I witnessed in Singapore.  The human and economic toll is staggering and we are fortunate that the Bolero team (and families) are well and still working productively.

Clearly this crisis has brought home the challenges of remote working and intermittent courier services. Secure, encrypted, digital versions of documents can instantly cross borders and quarantine barriers where paper equivalents may be held up for months. Dealing with the distribution and processing of stacks of paper documents required at a bank branch (if it is open) or by customs and the ports has always been a burden, but now with social distancing and working-from-home regimes in place, this has broken down completely. The answer and Bolero’s reason for being, is to provide for digitisation of documents and secure electronic communication between parties at the speed of the internet.

Nobody, however, can really predict when this current crisis will end or how it will affect individual businesses. We know it’s an extremely worrying time for many companies. At Bolero we are in the fortunate position of being well-resourced and fully equipped to be a significant force in what is likely to be a very changed market when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. The appetite for trade digitisation is only likely to grow and we have the solutions to meet it. I’m confident that whatever the shape of international trade after the crisis, the next 12 months will see significant progress for Bolero and for our customers.