Building Moselle: A Story of Startup Co-Creation

Building Moselle - A Story of Startup Co-Creation for trade financing
Lakhveer’s family’s grocery business has been a landmark of Little India in Toronto since the 1980s.

In February 2018, Lakhveer Jajj joined Highline Beta as a Senior Technical Director. When he came on board he made it quite clear that his goal was to eventually start a company. We didn’t have a problem with that; in fact, we encouraged it, because we see Highline Beta as a place for startup founders to gain experience, work on interesting projects and find their next company. Lakhveer may be one of the first people on the team to spin-out and start a company – Moselle, but he won’t be the last.

And Lakhveer did work on a number of interesting ventures and projects at Highline Beta, including Relay Platform, which was spun out and funded last year. But we knew the day would come when Lakhveer would find the right opportunity to pursue, and we were ready to support him.

Eventually, Lakhveer came to us with an idea. He wanted to help trade businesses– like the one his father ran in the grocery space importing almonds and other foods–be more successful. Having worked with his father, he had a real understanding of the problems and the passion to fix them. As is the case with many small businesses, it comes down to finances. For import/export businesses there are some particularly interesting and challenging financial issues including financing (to support the buying of goods and importing them before they’re sold) and exchange rates (FX). It turns out margins are pretty slim in the food business, a point or two in the wrong direction on FX can wipe out any profits.

If you can’t convince someone else to join you on the crazy mission of building a startup, something’s wrong

We engaged one of our corporate partners in the effort around Moselle to help us evaluate the opportunity and build relationships into the market. And after several months of research and validation in the space, alongside our team, Moselle was born (and Lakhveer left Highline Beta!)

One of the first things Lakhveer did was recruit a co-founder, Traci Cheng, who has experience in startups and big companies, including in banking. We’ve always said, “If you can’t convince someone else to join you on the crazy mission of building a startup, something’s wrong.” Lakhveer did exactly that, and at such an early stage, the team is pretty much everything.

“It’s been (and still is) a crazy journey for us at Moselle. Highline Beta’s creative approach in working with corporate partners, has allowed for us to collaborate, iterate, and refine faster. We’ve gone down a unique path that wouldn’t have been possible on our own.”

—Lakhveer Jajj, Founder and CEO, Moselle

Today, Moselle is live offering trade businesses with easy-to-use trade financing and currency exchange services.

They have a plan to build a one stop shop of tools and services specialized to trade businesses, particularly in the food and beverage space, and we believe they have what it takes to make that happen. And in the current COVID-19 crisis, trade businesses need all the help they can get. It’s a huge market, and in many ways an essential service that drives the global economy.

We continue to support Moselle through this early part of its journey. Our corporate startup studio is there to provide guidance, hands-on support and whatever else we can to help Lakhveer and Traci achieve their mission.

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