The Seattle company has a mobile app that allows people in the U.S. to send money to friends and relatives in the Philippines, Mexico and India.
What: Seattle-based Remitly, a mobile app to send money internationally
Who: Matt Oppenheimer and Josh Hug, co-founders
International tracks: Oppenheimer, who is CEO, was working at Barclays mobile banking division in Kenya when he realized how expensive and time-consuming it was to send money internationally. In addition, while more people across the world were using cellphones to communicate with relatives in other countries, there was no easy way to send money from the phones. He set out to create a service that was cheaper and easier to use than the entrenched leaders, such as Western Union.
Money in three days: Remitly operates a mobile app that allows people in the U.S. to send money to relatives or friends in Philippines, Mexico and India in up to three days. The funds can be transferred from a debit card or bank account to a long list of partner banks or cash pickup spots in the receiver’s country. Remitly sets foreign-exchange prices several times a day and tells the user when they log in what the rate will be.
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In the know: One of Oppenheimer’s main concerns is transparency; he wants users to always know what’s going on with their money. The company charges a $3.99 fee for some transactions and always explains the total cost before completing the transaction. The app also shows the sender the day and time, down to the hour, the money will be ready for pickup.
Keeping it mobile: Remitly added a messaging feature to its app that allows the sender and receiver to talk directly.
A new territory: Remitly expanded its services to Mexico just last month. Eventually the company wants to make it global. Remitly established more than 11,000 pickup locations in Mexico and said $24 billion is transferred between the two countries every year. The company hopes to capture a part of that market.
Co-founder connection: Oppenheimer, a former banking manager, met Hug when Remitly was in the TechStars startup accelerator class in 2011. Hug, the chief product officer, was one of Oppenheimer’s mentors, and the two worked together so well that Oppenheimer brought Hug on board.
Quick stats: Remitly said users of its service are sending more than $500 million every year. The startup has raised more than $23 million in financing rounds, including a $12.5 million round in March, led by Menlo Park, Calif.-based investment firm DFJ.
— Rachel Lerman