RemTech Recap: Remittances - Better, faster & Cheaper




Franzi Jost

Remittances – RemTech solutions needed around the world

How can remittances be done better, faster and cheaper? The RemTech Pilot Accelerator, conducted by TechQuartier on behalf of the Programme Migration & Diaspora of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), asked this question to startups based in countries around the world. Ideally, the participants’ business models should be based on innovative, technology-based solutions and contribute to reducing costs and improving the development-oriented use of remittances.

Remittances are a lifeline to workers’ families back home, providing necessities such as food, medical care and education. Yet transfer fees are high, diverting much-needed funds. Additionally, there are opportunities to leverage remittances to support long-term development and financial inclusion via investments, savings and entrepreneurship. That’s where RemTech and FinTech innovators have a crucial role to play.

“This was a highly innovative and impactful programme for Startups, I learned a lot and I am happy to have been a part of the programme. Kudos to the organizers, the experts and everyone who made this programme happen. Would highly recommend to my peers and other Startups looking to make waves in the RemTech/ FinTech Industry.”

About 40 startups from 20 countries applied to participate in the Pilot-Accelerator. Twelve of them had the opportunity to participate in an intensive startup development programme that took place from September 27 to October 1, 2021. Programme highlights included one-on-one pitch coaching sessions, keynotes, round tables, educational sessions by experts in various fields, and virtual speed dating sessions with potential investors and business partners. The finale of the programme was the Demo Day, which took place on October 1. Here, the twelve startups presented their RemTech solutions in five-minute pitches in front of five international jury members.

First place went to the startup FriendlyTransfer, which thus secured prize money of 4,000 cEuro. Second place was dua Pay (1,500 cEuro) and third place went to Flow (1,000 cEuro).

The three winners of the RemTech Demo Day received the prize money in cEuro from celo, the main sponsor of the project.

“We participated because it’s a challenge fully focused on remittances innovation. We knew we would be showcasing FriendlyTransfer to an audience that could truly understand the impact our platform is having at significantly reducing the cost and time involved in international transfers,” said Gidany Cobo, Co-Founder & CEO of FriendlyTransfer, a startup from Ecuador that allows friends around the world, through a social platform, to connect and agree to exchange money locally.

“Seeing our model being ‘validated’ by a group of peers and experts working in the remittances industry, encourages us to work even harder on scaling FriendlyTransfer and its impact. We thank the TechQuartier team and community for their support and look forward to continuing working together in the development of the RemTech industry.”

To be accepted to the programme, the FinTech startups had to fit certain criteria: a special focus on Remittance Solutions (RemTech) and/or Cross-Border Money Transfer, they had to be at an early stage, preferably with a tested MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and the startup had to have an aim to increase the positive impact of remittances.

The Startups

dua pay (Kosovo) – A community marketplace and payment-service startup that aims at changing the way globally fragmented communities connect.

Flow (Estonia/ Morocco) – An online wallet with an innovative infrastructure that allows users to make instant international payments through peer-to-peer exchange with fees lower than 1.5%.

PEXBANK (Nigeria) – A freelance finance & digital payments solution that provides extensive payment options for timely, convenient, and cost-effective remittances and global commerce payments.

Kobopay (Nigeria) – A digital banking platform designed to provide affordable financial services to the underserved population.

Kemit & Sure (Cameroon) – An insurance comparator that offers a comparison portal of existing insurance on the African continent.

Mali (Kenya) – An interoperable payment platform that will allow users to accept and make low-value payments for free.

Trucard (India) – An alternative option to millions of customers to save and grow their wealth through its asset-backed digital currency called TruCoin.

Pax Credit (India/ Singapore) – A payment solution that provides digital financial services for international students to pay university fees in local currencies.

Sajilo Pay (Nepal) – A Payment service provider offering integrated digital payment solutions all over Nepal.

VoicePay (India) – An end-to-end platform that provides seamless and voice-based mobile payment & services.

Indokarya (Indonesia) – Offers a fast and cheap solution for international money transfer for Indonesian workers in Malaysia.

Programs Feedback

The responses from the participating startups show that they were able to take away useful information from the programme for their further business development:

“Organizing a virtual programme and coordinating everyone’s effort is far from being easy. Therefore, the more prepared the better – and the more heads-up and clear instructions to the participants the better. TechQuartier did a great job overall.”