Digital money transfer startup Azimo has secured the backing of Rakuten Fintech Fund in a new $15 million financing round to fuel its plans for expansion into Asia.
Founded in 2012, Azimo now provides services to more than 190 countries in over 80 currencies. Azimo's focus is on the expensive high street remittance market, offering a lower-cost alternative to migrant workers sending money home to their families.
According to the World Bank, Asia is home to seven out of the top ten remittance-receiving countries, receiving over $250 billion of remittance flows every year from its over 60 million migrants living abroad.
Already active in the Philippines and Thailand, Azimo has set its sights on expansion across the region, promising to undercut traditional banks and money transfer operators with a mobile-first digital approach that will lower the cost of transactions from the current 5-8% average to below two percent.
In this respect, the backing of Rakuten is a huge coup for the firm.
Michael Kent, CEO and founder, of Azimo says: "While we weren’t actively looking for additional capital, the approach from Rakuten really appealed because of their presence in markets core to our long-term ambitions. They have a huge presence in Asia, they really understand consumer financial services and as owners of Viber, and are a significant player in the social messaging market. The partnership will accelerate our Asian expansion and assist in our aim of developing ever deeper social network integrations.”
Existing investors eVentures, Frog Capital, Greycroft, Accion and MCI also contributed to this round of funding. It follows a $20 million financing round scored by the firm in June last year.