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Money tips bought to you by World Remit

PICTURED: Catherine Wines

THIS WEEK'S subject is: WorldRemit – the better way to send money

Founded in 2010, WorldRemit is an online money transfer company that offers a fast, low cost and convenient alternative to high street money transfer agents.

From being a small start-up, we’re now one of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK. Today they handle millions of transfers, sending from 50 to over 140 countries globally.

We talk to Catherine Wines, co-founder of WorldRemit, about the success and growth of the company.

WorldRemit filled the need for a better way

Asked how WorldRemit was able to take on the world’s biggest banks and money transfer companies, Catherine explains that it was
because we really met a need.

A need for a faster, cheaper and more convenient way to transfer money round the world. And we embraced the very latest technology to enable us to do that.

In some ways we took our model from the travel industry. In the past people would go to a travel agent on their high street and queue to arrange travel tickets and holiday packages.

Today, the majority of people book their own travel online. So Catherine and her business partner, Ismail Ahmed, saw no reason why remittances couldn’t be handled online, too.

The early years

In the early years when the two founders faced make or break moments, it was their passion that saw them through. Catherine says they really believed in what they were doing. They spoke to customers and were often humbled by their stories.

This gave them the incentive they needed to remain positive and continue to grow the business. WorldRemit was helped enormously in its growth with a $200 million investment from a number of investors including those who had also invested in Facebook and Spotify.

So we asked Catherine what advice she would give to entrepreneurs also looking for investment. She tells us that businesses should always aim to deliver a solution to a problem. And what makes it really attractive to investors is if that solution is scalable – potentially
globally.

WorldRemit and mobile money

As part of WorldRemit’s growth, we are now linked to 117 million mobile money accounts. So what is it about mobile money that’s so popular with our customers?

Catherine explains that mobile money works really well with the WorldRemit model. Most people sending money do it on their mobile phones. So it’s a logical progression to send money to an- other mobile account. It’s so easy, fast and convenient. It’s another example of our technology solving a problem.

Later in the video Catherine tells us just how much mobile money is empowering women in developing countries. It’s helped many women (particularly the unbanked) become financially independent for the first time. Many have used the remittances they get from mobile money to set up their own micro-businesses.

The benefit of money transfers in developing countries

Catherine tells us just how important remittances are to the economy of developing countries. Money transfers actually account for three times the money going abroad than overseas aid and are a large part of the GDP of many countries.

Remittances can really help developing businesses – especially when they are paid through mobile money. Mobile money gives the receiver evidence of payments, which if they are regular enables them to apply for a micro-loan. With these loans they can start and develop a business.

MoneyMatters has spoken to many people who’ve used WorldRemit to help them in establishing a business. So we asked Catherine if she finds it satisfying to play such an integral role in helping businesses. She believes that it’s WorldRemit’s mission to connect and help people – families and businesses alike.

Women and technology

It’s so gratifying to see another leading female entrepreneur being so successful in the world of technology. So we wanted to know what advice Catherine would give to someone pursuing a career in tech.

Catherine says that the world has changed and the glass ceiling has moved away to some extent. But the key to success is really believing in yourself and getting as much help along the way as you can. Mentors are invaluable – someone to turn to when you’re a little down.

We asked Catherine (knowing what she knows now) what advice she would give to herself starting WorldRemit seven years ago. Catherine says that starting a business is all about trying new things, sometimes making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.

That will never change. But one thing she would advise herself to do differently is not try to do everything herself. She would have built up the team around her more quickly. Good advice from a lady whose business continues to go from strength to strength.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition on the better way to send money abroad!

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