March 18, 2014
Atleast 3 people who have spent more than a decade chasing Mobile Payments and Money business models have told me secretly that till 2012/13 even they used cheques (US checkbook is with their parents abroad in their native country). What does it mean? Remittance experience was broken for us, for the payment experts and for probably everybody. The Moneygram's and Western Union's of the world had not solved the problem. Either the charges were so high or the method was so complex and risky that people found it difficult to enjoy sending money home. I have high hopes from online/mobile and Bitcoin related innovations happening in remittance business.
WorldRemit says 'Global online money transfer service is disrupting inefficient and high cost traditional remittance business models'
WorldRemit announced on 12th March that it has closed a $40 million investment from Accel Partners, representing one of the largest Series A venture capital funding rounds completed in Europe. WorldRemit’s online platform enables migrants and expats to send quick, convenient and low cost remittance payments to families and friends abroad. The investment will support WorldRemit’s expansion into new geographies and the development of additional products and services.
According to The World Bank, $519 billion of remittance payments were made in 2012, mostly via traditional players such as Western Union and MoneyGram, as well as a plethora of smaller and informal operators. The majority of these payments are still conducted via a network of physical locations, resulting in an inefficient and expensive user experience. These traditional operators also create compliance risks associated with acceptance of cash at corner shops that leaves no audit trail.
WorldRemit with its online-only, cashless business model offers a more efficient, affordable and transparent remittance alternative to traditional money transfer operators. Customers can send funds from 35 countries to families and friends in over 100 destinations. Senders can use WorldRemit’s online platform, also accessible via mobile phones and tablets, to make payments by debit or credit card, or via bank transfer. Recipients can receive funds via bank deposit, direct transfer to mobile wallets, cash pickup or delivery, as well as airtime top-up for their mobile phones.
Founded in 2009, WorldRemit has partnered with leading international banks, mobile operator hubs and mobile money transfer networks including M-PESA, as well as an array of fast, low cost local money transfer networks. The company currently enables more than 1.3 million annualised remittance transactions with the help of over 50 employees and expects to continue its rapid growth in 2014, expanding its staff to 200 employees by the end of the year.
Ismail Ahmed, Founder & CEO at World Remit, comments: WorldRemit offers migrant workers and expats unparalleled speed, convenience and transparency when sending money home. We expect the online money transfer sector to account for approximately 30% of the remittance market in the next few years and that WorldRemit will be at the forefront of this change. We offer the most extensive range of pay-out options unmatched by any money transfer firm, including payments to mobile wallets and international airtime top up, which enable recipients to receive their money even where there is limited or no banking infrastructure.
Accel Partners with their global network and extensive expertise in the payments industry is the perfect fit for WorldRemit. We are excited to continue our rapid growth trajectory with their support, added Ahmed.
Harry Nelis, Accel Partners says: WorldRemit is moving remittance online, disrupting a traditionally offline business and democratizing payments. We are excited to be partnering with a team with the deep industry expertise that has enabled them to build the robust technology and strong compliance needed for a secure, trusted and world-class remittance business.
William Blair & Company acted as exclusive financial adviser to WorldRemit in this transaction.
Related Insights: India continues to dominate the global market for inward remittance followed by China and Philippines. The Indian remittance market grew at a CAGR of 13.2% of the last 5 years (Refer Chart Below). The remittance market in India is expected to grow strong in coming years (exchange rates are favorable to remitters) and the market is expected to witness a steady growth rate of 10-12% every year. The depreciating value of INR compared to U.S. dollar is expected to fuel the market for remittance in India.
Top Five Countries – Inward Remittance over the last 6 years