As Europe’s Online Money Transfer Market Heats Up, UK’s Azimo Expands To Germany And Ireland

Following a $1 million seed round, UK money transfer startup Azimo has made good on its promise to begin expanding to other parts of Europe. Today the company has officially rolled out in Germany and Ireland, adding to the number of countries where users can send money from. The service already supports 190 destination countries around the world.

Launched in August 2012, Azimo is attempting to take on the remittance industry by letting users transfer money internationally to friends, family or other contacts via the Web, its mobile apps or Facebook, charging between 1% and 2% of the transaction, which is significantly cheaper than the rates charged by the likes of Western Union, PayPal or indeed the banks. The recipient receives the money either in their bank account, at local cash collection points, or as “mobile wallet” top-up credit.

“While Azimo’s international money transfers are available to all, the most common use of the platform is migrant workers making remittance payments to friends and family. Transferring money is an expensive business, and often it is some of the poorest people who need to make these remittance payments,” notes Michael Kent, CEO and Founder of Azimo, in a statement.

The UK startup says that Germany is the world’s fourth largest remittance market — worth an estimated $15 billion a year, and is pinning growth on this newly-entered country. Kent also says, having built out its technology and product line, the company is “in a position to expand into many more markets very quickly”, and that it’s seen its customer numbers double every quarter since launch. Along with Germany and Ireland, France, Spain and Netherlands have previously been pegged to follow on the company’s roadmap.

Meanwhile, Azimo’s expansion is further signs of the European money transfer market heating up. Last month, Dublin-based peer-to-peer currency exchange CurrencyFair raised a further $2.5 million led by Frontline Ventures, money it says will be used for further product development.

Just a few weeks earlier Lithuanian-based TransferGo, which also operates a P2P model to undercut the banks, announced it had raised a modest €200,000 in funding to launch in the UK.

Then of course there’s London-based TransferWise, backed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, SV Angel, IA Ventures, Index, Seedcamp, and TAG. In October it announced that it had processed £250 million worth of transfers through its platform since launch in early 2011, up from £125 million in four months, and is now transferring more than £1 million a day.

However, to put that into context, 2009-founded CurrencyFair claims to have done £500 million in money transfers since it began trading.

Interestingly, Azimo recently won a “€1m advertising budget” as one of the winners of the SevenVentures Pitch Day at the NOAH Conference 2013. The prize consists of TV media on channels owned by Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media.

I’ve also heard that TransferWise has been working with Squadron Venture Media for media planning and buying, and other advertising support, on what I understand to be a revenue share based on ROI.