Remitly, the Seattle-based digital remittance company, is coming to Europe.
After debuting its service in the U.K. last year, Remitly is adding 11 countries across Europe to its platform, allowing people there to transfer money to family members back home in other parts of the world. The latest expansion includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
People in those 15 nations can send money to others in 28 countries in Asia, Central and South America, Africa and Europe. A little less than a year ago, Remitly allowed people to send money from only the U.S., Canada and Australia to others in 10 countries.
As part of the expansion, Remitly is teaming up with online payment powerhouse Stripe to process transactions in various European currencies. Remitly, which is No. 5 on the GeekWire 200, says this partnership will also help expand payment mechanisms beyond the European expansion.
Remitly calls itself largest independent digital remittance company in North America, and the markets in Europe it now covers account for $121 billion in international money transfers annually. Right now, more than $6 billion is transferred annually on Remitly — up from $4 billion last year — but still just a small fraction of the $574 billion sent worldwide in 2016.
“We are less than 1 percent of the market,” said Matt Oppenheimer, Remitly’s CEO. “There’s a huge amount of room to grow in the market’s we’re in, but the reason we’ve been able to sustain our growth rate is there’s so much headroom for us to grow in these new markets and we add them much more rapidly because we’ve got that strong base and strong customer-centric foundation and product set.”
For years Remitly’s sole focus was on transactions from the U.S. to the Philippines. Oppenheimer compared this to Amazon’s early focus on only books, before expanding quickly within retail and to entirely different businesses.
Not expanding too quickly at the beginning and getting the experience right, Oppenheimer says, now allows Remitly to enter several new markets at the same time without issue.
“Now, just like Amazon, where they don’t add just one product line at a time or one area at a time, we are expanding rapidly because we have a very strong base and we understand our business,” Oppenheimer said.
Remitly’s technology helps eliminate the need for forms, codes, agents, and other fees typically associated with the international money transfer process. The company allows free transfers if the sender can wait three days for the funds to arrive; it charges a $3.99 flat rate for same-day transfers and credit card transfers include an additional 3 percent fee.
The 700-person company raised $115 million last October in the largest funding round for a Pacific Northwest company in 2017. Its investors include World Bank’s International Finance Corporation; Silicon Valley Bank; Stripes Group; DN Capital; QED Investors; Tomorrow Ventures; Trilogy Equity Partners; Bezos Expeditions; Founders’ Co-op; and DFJ.