UK-based startup Azimo that deals with online money transfer has secured $20 million in a Series B funding round that has boosted the value of the company to around $100 million. Many capital ventures like Frog Capital, e.ventures and Greycroft Partners participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2012 by Michael Kent, Ricky Knox and Marek Wawro, the startup Azimo allows its customers to transfer money to more than 190 countries in 77 currencies globally from any mobile or web-connected device. This startup is one among the few fintech startups that are trying to make a mark in the growing trend of mobile and online banking to try to get a bite of the $529 billion worth of funds that get zipped around the world every year, according to the estimates from the World Bank. But the company has not revealed any plans so far to enter the US market following other startups like TransferWise, CurrencyFair and WorldRemit.
CEO and co-founder of Azimo, Kents states, “We are very much a European specialist. We think customers have traditionally been underserved in Germany, France and Spain, so we have big plans for those markets, while pushing into the whole of the EU. We are looking to open additional jurisdictions for sending money.” He also added, “To do Europe properly, you have to have a big network. But once you have that network, you can point it across the world.”
The startup plans to use the new funds to expand the operations of the company in pan-European and Asia. Kent said, “These funds will allow us to further expand our services and continue to give the worlds migrants a better deal.” He also added that the company has plans to acquire large players in the future. He pinpointed at the potential merger possible with Western Union and Moneygram as a sign that there is “an obvious consolidation story that’s happening in this industry. I would have though at some point – as we have financial investors – we would be part of that. I think it’s a little way off.”
The move comes soon after the rivals in London raised significant amounts. Last January, TransferWise announced securing $58 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz which shot the value of the company to $1 billion. Around a month later WorldRemit raised $100 million from technology Crossover Ventures, that backed Facebook and Netflix in early days, and increased the value to $500 million.
Last March, it raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners and other including Accion’s Frontier Investments Group, eVentures and TA Ventures which it used to improves its services for customers.
The announcement about the Azimo deal happens on the day before first International Day of Family Remittances, the day announcement by UN to promote awareness of the growing scale of the migrant workers who transfer funds to their families living in different part of the world. Reports from World Bank says around $519 billion of remittance payments were made in 2012, mostly through traditional modes through Western Union and MoneyGram.
Kent said, “We run up against a lot of patronizing people when it comes to migrant workers. People assume that would not use Skype or social networks or smartphones. But in fact we found that Eastern Europeans, Filipinos, and other massively over-indexed on services like VoIP and social networking, so in fact it completely makes sense to sell them digital remittance apps. Rather than requiring them to walk into a Western Union and pay more, you could take the stuff they were using already for other reasons to deliver a cheaper and more cost-effective service.”