Matt Oppenheimer and Josh Hug of Beamit

Seattle startup Beamit Mobile has raised $2.4 million in fresh financing from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s TomorrowVentures, Founder’s Co-op and Bezos Expeditions, the venture capital firm of Jeff Bezos. The money will be used to continue development of the company’s technology, which allows immigrants to transfer money to mobile phones in developing countries.

“These investors share our vision of enabling a faster, less expensive and far more convenient way for sending money across borders,” said founder Matt Oppenheimer who came up with the idea while overseeing mobile and Internet banking for Barclays Bank Kenya.

“Many Kenyans received money in an old and antiquated way using a cash-based system on both ends but it was an expensive and a painful customer experience,” says Oppenheimer. “I knew that there was the opportunity to leverage digital channels, including mobile phones, to improve the lives of our customers.”

Oppenheimer returned to the U.S. in May 2011, later landing a coveted spot in the TechStars Seattle program. Last October, Beamit recruited Josh Hug — a Seattle entrepreneur who previously sold online book social network Shelfari to and his mentor at TechStars — as chief product officer.

The new round of funding includes a $750,000 convertible note, which we previously reported on here. Beamit is currently testing its technology with a small number of customers who can transfer money from the U.S. to the Philippines.

The market for money transfers is a big one, with Oppenheimer noting that the World Bank estimates that $350 billion of remittances are transferred each year with an average cost of more than $27. It’s primary competitor is Xoom.

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  • Guest

    It’s amazing to me how little involvement MS seems to have with local company investment or acquisitions. And it’s not like they’re not doing those elsewhere. Seems they’re missing a big opportunity right in their own back yard, so to speak. But kudos to Bezos, he’s been running circles around Ballmer for years via Amazon and that seems to extend to his personal investments as well. I guess that’s the difference betwen a visionary versus an operator.

  • BITguest

    I received $5K in bitcoin earlier this month, converted it to USD and accepted the $9 wiring fee from Trade Hill to my bank.  It wasn’t that hard… 

  • CaoMing

    Here is how Eric Schmidt involved into such anti-humanity crimes
    Eric Schmidt had threatened my life with the death of Stanford student May Zhou during his fight withStanford. Eric Schmidt is part of this plot in May Zhou’s death. He had also conspired my life at a later time, and which had cost his Google CEO position.
    It started from a 2004 Stanford campus assault case, in which a lady named Gabriele Scheler bitterly assaulted me; Police concluded that I am a victim while Scheler is a criminal suspect after serious investigation; However Sebastian Thrun later joined Scheler to false accuse me at Stanford, and Eric Schmidt had joined them to support Sebastian Thrun and Gabriele Scheler against ruling from Stanford and police. During their tough fight with Stanford in the early 2007, Eric Schmidt and Sebasitan Thrun’s side had murderred May Zhou to threaten me, by telling me: “You see May Zhou, she’s an Asian (me too an Asian), … Police might not even find out who did it, what if it happened to you?” , and to terrorize Stanford (because May Zhou is Stanford student), and they did plot a murder on me as well last year when they found I would not compromise but insist on clarifying their crimes
    These accusations had been confirmed by authorities investigation and stand still which Eric Schmidt and Sebastian Thrun dare not deny to the public so far. Eric Schmidt and Sebastian Thrun had not paid for their crimes

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