Somali Entrepreneur Raises $100 Million For Money Transfer Startup WorldRemit

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Ismail Ahmed - WorldRemit

WorldRemit, a London-based online money transfer service that lets people send money to friends and family in other countries, has raised $100m in a Series B funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), with participation from existing investor Accel Partners.

WorldRemit was founded in 2010 by Ismail Ahmed, a Somali-born remittance specialist and former compliance advisor to the United Nations, after a conviction that technology could improve the international money transfer process, enhance compliance and reduce costs to the customer. WorldRemit is significantly cheaper than other major transfer services such as Western Union and Moneygram.

The new investment will allow WorldRemit to extend its existing reach of 50 send countries and 117 receive countries, and expand partnerships with Mobile Money wallets operated by telecoms companies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. WorldRemit has raised a total of $140 million in the last year. In March 2014 the company received $40 million in funding from Accel Partners.

Apart from offering bank deposit and cash pick-up options, WorldRemit facilitates instant transfers to Mobile Money wallets and allows customer to send mobile airtime top-ups. More than 50% of all WorldRemit transfers to Africa are currently received as Mobile Money or mobile airtime top-up.

WorldRemit is growing fast. It now has more than 150 employees at its London headquarters, up from about 40 only a year ago. In December 2014, the company set up a base in Denver, Colorado, with plans to recruit more than 200 staff.

“I am delighted that TCV is joining WorldRemit in our mission to enable the seamless movement of money between people across borders. We have an amazing opportunity to shake-up a stale industry and to save our customers time and money. We are taking money transfers into the mobile age, where people send from apps and receive on Mobile Money services,” Ismail Ahmed, WorldRemit founder and CEO, said in a press release.

Meanwhile, TCV General Partner John Rosenberg said the $550 billion global remittance market is undergoing significant disruption with a clear shift to online and mobile solutions for international money transfer.

“We are delighted to partner with Ismail and the WorldRemit team, who are at the forefront in offering convenient, low-cost solutions, backed by a market leading technology platform, compliance infrastructure, and geographic footprint,” Rosenberg said in a statement.

By Mfonobong Nsehe

– Forbes

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