SendFriend, a Philippine-focused remittance market startup, has raised up to US$1.7 million capital in a venture round backed by blockchain giant Ripple also known as the cryptocurrency XRP.
Other leading investors include the MIT Lab, Mastercard Foundation, Barclays, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital.
Founded in 2017, SendFriend is headquartered in Greater New York City that is focused on providing remittance services to millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), these workers greatly contribute to the Philippines’ GDP growth by sending money to their families back home.
The Philippines’ remittance and international money transfer industry is the third largest globally at US$30 billion next to China (US$64 billion), and India ($72 billion), according to the World Bank April 2018 report on “Migration and Remittances”.
SendFriend co-founder and CEO David Lighton said the investment will allow them to build out their team, focus on community engagement, and marketing efforts.
“We are humbled by the support of our investors, who share in our vision to reduce the costs and improve the experience for the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers who send money home to support their families,” Lighton said.
Through its partnership with Ripple, SendFriend seeks to further improve its remittance services to OFWs by offering a secure, intuitive, and low-fee solution that targets to reduce remittance payment cost by 65 per cent from the industry average.
SendFriend leverages XRP’s xRapid technology to create a seamless money transfer experience. XRP is used as a liquidity vehicle for cross-border payments, enabling SendFriend to circumvent the corresponding banking system and convert USD to XRP to PHP in a matter of seconds.
Led by a team with roots at The World Bank, MIT, MoneyGram, and Harvard Business School, SendFriend was accepted into the Barclays Accelerator Program, Powered by Techstars, to further build out its customer-first solution.
“SendFriend has built strong partnerships along its supply chain, while developing a foundation to significantly minimize friction in the system. This is a highly competitive space with longtime incumbents, but we are confident in the success of SendFriend,” said Yuan Ruan, founder of 8 Decimal Capital.
The fintech startup plans to launch in New Jersey but will soon be available to OFWs in other states via desktop and mobile.
SendFriend reported that more than $45 billion in fees on remittance services, which often take three to five days, was spent last year by the millions of migrants in the US who send home more than $650 billion in remittances.
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