Mobile payments platform Remitly (formerly BeamIt), which allows U.S. users to transfer money overseas, has raised an additional $2.6 million, bringing its total raise to date to $5.1 million. The new investment comes from Trilogy Equity Partnership, making this a strategic move from Remitly, as Trilogy is known for its mobile expertise, investing in mobile startups like the now Rapid7-owned Mobilisafe and Lookout, for example, while also currently operating wireless carriers in the Caribbean and Latin America.
TechStars-backed Remitly’s $2.4 million seed round in April 2012 was led by Founder’s Co-op, with participation from Bezos Expeditions (the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos), TomorrowVentures (the investment vehicle for Eric Schmidt), and a small group of angel investors, including Geoff Entress, Sujal Patel, Chase Franklin and others.
The company announced this latest funding earlier this month, at the same time noting that it has now expanded into 16 U.S. states as a licensed money transmitter, with more states pending approval.
The product only supports transfers from the U.S. to the Philippines, but the additional capital will help fund expansion to other countries – specifically those where U.S. immigrants send money home via transfers. Citing World Bank statistics, the company says that more than $350 billion is transferred from developed to developing countries every year.
Beamit CEO Matt Oppenheimer formerly ran Barclays Bank’s mobile banking unit in Kenya, which provides him with first-hand experience in banking and developing markets. Other team members have worked at places like Amazon, Microsoft, Western Union, and Oracle.
Oppenheimer declined to provide numbers in terms of Remitly’s traction or payments sent, saying only that it was a “great Q4.” However, he noted that the market itself is large – $10 billion is sent from the U.S. to the Philippines each year, for example. He also tells us that the company hasn’t yet decided which country it will open up to next, but there are many options in Asia and Latin America.
Remitly enables convenient international money transfers from a customer’s mobile phone in the USA to a mobile phone abroad. Remitly is disrupting the international remittance business (e.g. Western Union, Moneygram, etc.) by leveraging mobile wallets to provide a simple, low-cost, and more accessible product. This means changing an industry where $325 billion is transferred globally each year.