The idea for Remitly struck CEO and cofounder Matthew Oppenheimer while on a visit to Kenya. As former head of mobile banking at Barclays, Oppenheimer witnessed firsthand how dependent people were on money sent from overseas—as well as all the inefficiencies involved. Between obscure fees, unfair exchange rates, and often insurmountable documentation requirements, the global financial system’s barriers to entry too frequently discriminate against and exclude people who might benefit the most from access. That’s where Remitly, founded in 2011 and formerly called Beamit, sees opportunity for improvement.
Remittances are the company’s mainstay, as Remitly’s name suggests; but the startup is rapidly evolving into a “challenger bank” in its own right. Remitly offers debit cards in partnership with Visa, FDIC-insured checking accounts managed by Twin Cities-based Sunrise Banks, and payments through deals with fintech darlings like Ant Group’s Alipay and Silicon Valley’s Stripe. More than 3 million customers around the world use these products to circumvent the prohibitive money-moving status quo. What started with one route from the U.S. to the Philippines has expanded, over nine years, to include more than 1,000 corridors between 17 so-called origination countries and 70 destination ones. Remitly last raised $85 million at the end of July, a deal that privately valued the company at $1.5 billion including the money raised.
|No. of employees (approximate)||1,100|
Prosus’s PayU, Generation Investment Management, Owl Rock Capital, Stripe, DN Capital, Top Tier, Princeville Global, Threshold Ventures