SendFriend, a global remittance startup, has raised $1.7 million in pre-seed funding with the help of big name backers, according to a press release issued on 11th February.
The company, which claims to offer the smartest way to send money to the Philippines, will use the seed funding to provide a better service to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and ensure they can securely transfer USD to PHP at the lowest rates. The funding comes from MIT Media Lab, Barclays, the Mastercard Foundation, Ripple, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital.
SendFriend explained in its announcement that in 2018 more than $45 billion in fees were taken on remittance services. This is the amount spent last year by the millions of migrants in the USA who send home more than $650 billion to the Philippines in remittances annually. SendFriend will launch as the only option for OFWs to securely and reliably send money internationally with fees that are 65% lower than the industry average as it replaces the frictions and fees of the banking system with one seamless, ultra low cost experience to send money globally.
The company uses Ripple’s xRapid to leverage a seamless money transfer service using XRP as the liquidity vehicle for cross-border payments. Payments that previously took 3–5 days, now also take only a natter of seconds, as well as being much less expensive for the OFWs.
Yuan Ruan, founder of 8 Decimal Capital said, “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.”
David Lighton, SendFriend co-founder and CEO said, “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 (OFWs) who send money home to support their families.”
Founded at MIT by a group of experienced individuals with roots at The World Bank and MoneyGram who believe that there is a better way for Overseas Filipino Workers to support their families from afar, SendFriend was accepted into the Barclays Accelerator Program, Powered by Techstars, to further build out its customer-first solution.