Fintech startup Remitly has raised $85 million in a new round of funding, bumping its valuation up to $1.5 billion.
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Remitly facilitates international money transfers. More specifically, the company is focused on helping immigrants send remittances back to family members still living in their home country.
Remittances to low and middle-income countries reached a record of $554 billion in 2019, according to the World Bank. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, global remittances are expected to drop by 20 percent this year.
That makes Remitly’s mission even more important. The banking system in the United States wasn’t built with immigrants in mind, according to Remitly CEO Matt Oppenheimer, so immigrants need another efficient, trustworthy solution to send money to their families.
“(Immigrants) move with a primary purpose of being able to support their families back home and I think it’s really important for the world to understand…the sacrifices they make and for them to understand what’s it’s like for our customers to be living in a pandemic where they can’t travel home to see their kids right now, they can’t travel home to see their families and they’re relied upon (to send money home),” Oppenheimer said in an interview with Crunchbase News.
Remitly facilitates money transfers from 17 markets to 57 receiving markets and offers bank deposits, cash pickup options, mobile money delivery, and home delivery. The company has seen its new customers grow 200 percent year-over-year.
The new funding will be used to help Remitly expand into new markets and serve more customers. The company will also be investing more in Passbook, its digital banking product that was designed for immigrants.
Prosus’ PayU led the new funding round, which had participation from investors including Owl Rock Capital, Generation Investment Management, Stripes, DN Capital, Top Tier, Threshold Ventures, and Princeville Global.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias