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WorldRemit Secures $45M To Take On Western Union

WorldRemit has secured another major investment round to help it remain competitive in the crowded money transfer market.

As reported by TechCrunch, WorldRemit has now secured $45 million from its backers, reportedly at a $500 million valuation. And that’s in a remittance market that will be worth $610 billion in 2016, according to figures from World Bank.

This new funding, which could give it another edge against Western Union and other money transfer companies gaining steam, will help its business expand across multiple markets. CEO Ismail Ahmed told TechCrunch the plans are to expand in both developing markets and in places like the U.S. This strategy is focused on having a presence on both sides of the spectrum — where money is sent and where it is being sent from.

The company has not publicly released its valuation, but sources indicated that the valuation has held around the $500 million mark for much of the past year. This round brings WorldRemit’s total funding to $192.7 million, coming from investors such as Accel and TCV.

Still, WorldRemit is part of a very crowded market that includes 25 mobile money services that work with it (M-Pesa being one of the largest), but there are many more of its kind in emerging market regions. At the moment, WorldRemit is focused on growing its network both in and outside of the U.S. (in 40 states). It it also focused on the mobile money services market, which has been a rapidly growing market due to the number of people in emerging markets that have mobile phones but no bank accounts.

“I think there are a number of companies in the money transfer, but when you are looking specifically at companies targeting emerging markets like we are, there are really only a handful of bigger players, and I think we are the most global,” Ahmed told TechCrunch.

In terms of financials, TechCrunch’s report indicates WorldRemit had $39 million in revenue in 2015, which was a 56 percent growth when looking at specific transaction figures. WorldRemit sees around 400,000 transfers per month and claims to have the largest mobile money market share. Still, its business is built on much more than just transactions.

“If you look at the number of transactions going to mobile money, they are increasingly getting smaller,” Ahmed said. “Today, our average per transaction is around £90, but, historically, it was £150. The reason why is that with messaging apps, people are communicating with family members more frequently, and so they are sending smaller amounts more frequently.”

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