WorldRemit, the online money transfer service start-up that provides international remittance services to expatriates and migrant workers, is partnering Lebara, a telecommunications company providing pay-as-you-go mobile SIM cards, targeted toward the needs of international communities and migrant workers, on money transfer service to Africa.
The partnership would ensure the money transfer start-up leverage the over 3 million Lebara mobile and money users to beef up its transfer services on the African continent, just as it expects its first profits in 2019.
“The deal allows over 3 million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s digital money transfer service seamlessly, directly from the Lebara app and website.
“With more than half of WorldRemit’s transfers now going to Africa, this partnership will support the company’s plan to serve 5 million customers connected to the continent by 2020,” a statement by APO on behalf of both companies said Tuesday.
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The statement also noted that Lebara customers living in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands will benefit from WorldRemit’s extensive payout network in over 145 countries. This will provide a more convenient and lower cost alternative to the 90% of migrants who still send money through offline routes.
As part of the deal, WorldRemit will also benefit from co-branding in Lebara’s full retail estate stores and advertising in Lebara Mobile simpacks sold in 260,000 stores across Western Europe.
“We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s premier MVNO brands targeting international residents in Europe, giving its users access to our mobile-first service. With more than 260,000 points of sale, Lebara’s visibility and brand awareness complements WorldRemit’s strong digital capability. This partnership will introduce our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service to millions of new customers,” Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit said.
Ahmed added “WorldRemit has been working with telecommunication partners on the receive side, but this is our first strategic partnership with a mobile operator on the send side. We look forward to strengthening our leading position in the market with equally ambitious partnerships in the future.”
On his part, Graeme Oxby, CEO of Lebara Group said the initiative was in response to a growing need of Lebara valued customer base who send money home to relatives and friends. He said, “We are delighted to be able to partner with WorldRemit to offer a simple to use and highly cost-effective service.”
“Lebara mobile’s leadership position in the growing international residents market in Europe, coupled with a surge in smartphone users, creates an ideal platform for launching new and exciting services through partnerships. Our partners get unique access to a customer base which few other mobile companies can match,” Oxby added
WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $600 billion migrant money transfer market – better known as remittances. Known for its mobile-first approach, one third of its transactions go to mobile money accounts; it currently handles 74% of international money transfers to mobile money accounts globally.
WorldRemit’s chief executive officer also said Tuesday that the company expects to turn a profit in 2019.
Ahmed told CNBC that, despite the firm’s heavy investment in partnerships and user acquisition, he believes it will reach profitability by next year.
“Even with the amount of investment we’re making in customer acquisition and branding, we are targeting to achieve profitability next year,” Ahmed said in a phone call.
“We’re talking about an acceleration of growth here now. We’re investing heavily in partnerships within Africa and Latin America.”
WorldRemit in September last year said it had turned cash flow positive for the first time in 2016. It remained loss-making but narrowed losses from £19.4 million ($27.5 million) in 2015 to £15.3 million in 2016, according to accounts filed with U.K. business registrar Companies House.
Frontpage September 22, 2017