Sometimes, you have to spend money to make money. But it always costs something to send it. That’s why the international money transfer business is so large and continues to grow: people are increasingly distributed around the world, and there are now plenty of services to help them send money back to their families, for a fee.
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That’s the business London-based WorldRemit is in. Its international money transfer and cashless remittance services facilitates payments from 50 “sending” countries to 150 “receiving” countries around the world.
Today, the company announced it raised $175 million in Series D financing from a troika of prior investors—TCV, LeapFrog Investments, and Accel—which now values the company at $900 million, post-money.
According to Crunchbase data, the company has raised at least $407.7 million to date. The company’s last round, $40 million in Series C funding, valued the company at $668 million, post-money, back in December 2017.
WorldRemit’s CEO, Breon Corcoran, said in a statement that “For more than eight years our core purpose has been and continues to be to help migrants send money to their families, friends and communities. Our customers play a key role in the economies where they work and their remittances are important to their home countries.” Corcoran joined the company in October 2018 to take over the CEO role from cofounder Ismail Ahmed, who co-founded the company with Catherine Wines back in 2010. A page on WorldRemit’s website indicates that Ahmed and Wines still serve director roles at the company.
“Over the past eight years, Ismail and his founding team have built a fantastic business that offers customers a compelling solution and value proposition,” TCV general partner John Doran said in a statement. He continued, “Since passing the reins to Breon and the new management team last year, the business has continued to build on this platform and accelerated. We believe the opportunity and proposition is larger than ever.”
The company is growing, but perhaps a bit slower than its executives and VC backers would like. When the company announced its Series C round it said in a statement that the capital it raised would help WorldRemit reach 10 million customers “connected to emerging markets” by 2020. Today’s announcement, some 18 months after the last round, said the company now “serves almost 4 million customers.” 2020 is six months away.
WorldRemit said it will use the fresh Series D capital to “further drive global growth and diversify the company’s product offering for both money transfer senders and recipients.” The company also said it will launch “a new money transfer solution targeting small and medium-sized business owners who trade internationally, especially in emerging markets.”
Against incumbents like Western Union and upstart peers like TransferWise, WorldRemit is competing for its piece of a growing pie. According to an April press release from the World Bank, 2018 set records for international remittance flows. “Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017,” according to the report.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias