Ayannah, a gift-remittance startup in the Philippines, just received $1 million in its first angel round.
The company’s service is called Sendah, and allows Filipinos working overseas to pay for products and services back home for their families through Sendah’s site.
Sendah has a number of benefits over plain cash remittance. The company has worked out a number of discount deals with vendors on its site, so some of the products are cheaper online than off-the-shelf. Also, being able to pay for services directly allows the migrant workers to ensure the cash is used for the intended purpose.
The company launched in 2010, and has about 50,000 users. It’s targeting an estimated 200 million migrant workers living abroad.
Ayannah has another service called Sendah Direct, which is targeted at the large unbanked portion of the domestic market. It provides prepaid credits for companies it works with, allowing users to buy prepaid airtime or gaming credits, or gift certificates, for example. It also processes bill payments and money transfers between some larger retail chains such as drugstores.
It has about 7,000 retail partners, and has a million repeat customers in the Philippines, it said. One of its enterprise customers is Smart Communications, one of the two main telcos in the country.
Ayannah’s founder and CEO, Mikko Perez, said the company plans to enter South Asia and Latin America, and license its platform to partners in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) before year-end. Ayannah is already in “advanced talks” with partners in Central America, South Eastern Europe and Central Asia, he said. The company is focusing particularly on the unbanked demographic in these countries, so it’s likely that Sendah Direct’s model will be the platform getting licensed in these countries.
A third service, Sendah Connect, was just launched. Sendah Connect is a mobile app that allows free SIP calls and delivers live and archived video content on mobile phones, said Perez. The product will accept payments through a prepaid online wallet service. The app is available for Android phones now, and the company plans to market it to the US, Japan and Singapore soon, he said.
Ayannah employs a staff of 45, based in the Philippines.
This round of $1 million was led by LA-based Siemer Ventures and Golden Gate Ventures, which has operations in Singapore and in San Francisco. Including this round, Ayannah has received $2.5 million to date.