Industry heavyweights Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Kunal Shah invest in cross border payments startup Remitr


On Monday, cross-border payments company Remitware Payments Inc. announced raising $1 million as a part of their seed round from a mix of startup founders, including industry heavyweights such as Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Freecharge’s Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon, as well as GOQii founder Vishal Gondal, among others.

Founders of Remitr (L to R): Sandeep Todi, Kanchan Kumar and Sandeep Jhingran

Other names participating in the round included Pravin Gandhi, founder of Seedfund; UAE’s Smart Start Fund; Nasreddine Benaissa of Mawarid group; Laurent Nordin of McKinsey & Co; Japan Vyas of Sixth Sense Ventures; Yezdi Lashkari, founder of Flexmoney; Nirmal Bhogilal of Batliboi; Singapore Angel Network; Operator VC; and Germinators fund, along with other technology entrepreneurs and angel investors based in the US, UK and India.

The investment will be used for international expansion as well as to bolster the firm’s customer acquisition efforts in the market.

Founded in 2015, the firm’s product, Remitr, is a mobile app platform helping users make end-to-end payments through a proprietary payment network while being integrated with clearing systems and third party payment networks across different geographies.

This allows individuals to make cross-border international payments within hours. Presently, the firm only allows personal payments from the UAE to other geographies, including India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. However, with this round of funding, the firm will launch their product in Europe this month as well as in Canada by the end of the year.

Explaining the business design, co-founder and CEO, Kanchan Kumar says,

Our business design is such that our product will be launched in places and geographies where the used cases for sending money or currency is higher.

While not disclosing the traction, the firm claims that with transactions doubling month-on-month, the venture has launched its services in a new geography almost every month.

Apart from Kanchan, other co-founders include Sandeep Todi and Sandeep Jhingran, who collectively have more than 50 years of banking and entrepreneurial experience.

By the first quarter of 2017, the firm is looking to offer business payments as well as bulk payments (for e-commerce and freelance payments) on the platform. The end of this year will also see the firm present in five countries worldwide. However, for the business, the challenge is not technology but compliances and infrastructure, which needs to be tied to the backend.

Commenting on the growth, Kanchan added,

Looking back on our achievements in the past six months, we are bullish on executing our growth plans and are looking at using the team’s inherent strength to expand rapidly to newer geographies.

While talking about his investment, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO of Paytm, said,

Seamless cross-border payments infrastructure can accelerate global commerce and development. The founding team at Remitr are solving a real world problem and have the passion, belief and conviction to accelerate this revolution. I am confident they will truly disrupt this space.

 The market

In 2015, the World Bank had said that India was the leading nation in remittances, pulling across $70 billion from its global migrant workforce in 2014.

Further, remittances to developing nations were estimated to reach $440 billion in 2015, an increase of 0.9 percent over 2014. It also stated that while the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remained the top five migrant destination countries, India, China, the Philippines, Mexico and Nigeria were the top five remittance recipient countries in terms of value of remittances.

Moreover, it was also stated that the use of mobile in this market was still below two percent, leaving a huge gap for companies like Remitr to fill.

Being a sector filled with big banks and transfer operators like Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria, startups like Remitr, fastacash and InstaReM are trying to disrupt the market.



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