Investments

Money Transfer Startup Remitly Nets $85M On $1.5B Valuation

Remitly, which works to provide remittances and financial services for immigrants, announced an $85 million funding round amid a worldwide surge in demand for those kinds of services, a press release says.

Prosus's PayU, an existing investor, led the round with a $1.5 billion valuation, joined by Generation Investment Management, Owl Rock Capital, Stripes, DN Capital, Top Tier, Princeville Global, and Threshold Ventures, all returning partners, according to the release.

The funding round will go toward the company's expansion of digital service products, the release says.

Earlier this year, the World Bank forecast that global remittances would decline 20 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, new customer growth for Remitly has skyrocketed over 200 percent, according to the release, as customers turn to digital means rather than using physical stores to send remittances.

“The future of remittances has always been digital, but that shift has accelerated rapidly over the past few months with the demand for safe and convenient solutions to send money,” said Remitly co-founder and chief executive Matt Oppenheimer. “And with this investment, we are eager to continue innovating and building superior products that will meet our customers’ needs today and for years to come.”

Oppenheimer said Remitly had been “born out of this necessity — to provide the underserved, underbanked and overlooked access to financial services anytime, anywhere.”

In February, Remitly launched a new banking service just for immigrants, Passbook for Immigrants, to help them immediately get a Visa card and enter into banking services without the typical barriers to doing so that had always been present. Immigrants don't need a Social Security Number to make an account, instead utilizing the forms of ID they're more likely to have, such as individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, passports and foreign-government issued IDs like a Matricula Consular ID.

In July 2019, the company scored $135 million to expand globally, seeing the opportunities for digitization even then, according to Oppenheimer in a PYMNTS piece.

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