London-based money transfer network Azimo raises $15 million to expand across Asia

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Azimo, one of the world’s largest digital money transfer networks, announced today that it secured $15 million of new investment, led by the Japanese e-commerce and fintech services company Rakuten. Existing investors eVentures, Frog Capital, Greycroft, Accion and MCI Capital also contributed to this round of funding. Azimo plans to use the funds to consolidate its position in Europe and accelerate its expansion into Asia.

Already a huge remittance market, 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. In addition, Asia also has the highest global smartphone penetration. Currently, over 3/4 of Asian transactions are conducted offline through banks or money transfer operators (MTO), and as a result, the cost for senders is very high: as much as 5-8% per transaction. Azimo seeks to disrupt this market with its digital and much cheaper approach.

Commenting on the investment, Michael Kent, CEO and Founder, of Azimo said: “Rakuten’s investment is fantastic news for both our customers and the Azimo team. Our focus has always been to transform the way people send money around the world, and we’ve been lucky enough to receive lots of offers of funding on our journey. 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.”

Founded in 2012, Azimo was created to fix the broken and expensive money transfer industry, and make things better for the 70 million economic migrants living in Europe. After 4 years of exceptional growth the company now provides services to more than 190 countries in over 80 currencies. Half a million people have already connected to the platform and through its comprehensive network, Azimo can reach up to five billion people worldwide.

Azimo is already active in Asia: More than 30% of its transfers are sent to the region, with the Philippines and Thailand among the largest receiving markets. Now, with the help of Rakuten’s investment, the London- based company can start focusing on outbound remittances from Asia as well.