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WorldRemit, an online money transfer service, is making a vigorous entry into the African mobile money service market. The service has completed a funding round and has raised US$100-million to drive its global growth.
With the fund WorldRemit plans to extend to 50 send countries and 117 receive countries, and expand partnerships with Mobile Money wallets operated by telecoms companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
A few weeks ago, WorldRemit partnered with MTN to enter the African market, first in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, with plans to expand to all the 16 countries that MTN operates in. The company has also reported that more than 50% of all WorldRemit transfers to Africa are currently received as Mobile Money or mobile airtime top-up.
The company allows people to send money at far less cost than Western Union, which is mostly used in Africa for foreign transfers. Its growth to other countries in Africa and its popularity will offer another option to Western Union, one that will be far more welcomed than standing in long queues and filling out a thousand papers and paying exorbitant transfer fees.
The Series B funding round was led by Technology Crossover Venture (TCV) with participation from existing investor Accel Partners. Technology Crossover Ventures have before made investment in Vice, Spotify, Facebook and others.
John Rosenberg, TCV General Partner, said “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”.
Already the company enables about US$550-billion in remittances sent each year from across countries. According to a 2013 report by the World Bank, “Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to reach US$414-billion in 2013 (up 6.3% from 2012), and US$540-billion by 2016. Worldwide, remittance flows may reach US$550-billion in 2013 and over US$700-billion by 2016.
“I am delighted that TCV is joining WorldRemit in our mission to enable the seamless movement of money between people across borders” said Ismail Ahmed, CEO and found of WorldRemit, “We have an amazing opportunity to shake-up a stale industry and to save our customers time and money”.