Fintech Fund Invests in Disruptor

Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten Chairman and CEO

Hiroshi Mikitani, Rakuten Chairman and CEO

The Rakuten Fintech Fund invests in disruptive financial services companies with a focus on the U.S. and Europe. Asia however is in the sights of its latest investment.

The creator of the world’s largest digital money transfer network, Azimo, has announced $15m of new investment, led by the Japanese e-commerce and fintech services company Rakuten. Azimo plans to use the funds to consolidate its position in Europe and accelerate its expansion into Asia.

Asia is a region ripe for digital disruption. Already a huge remittance market, it’s home to seven out of the top ten remittance-receiving countries, receiving over $250 billion of remittance flows every year, with over 60 million Asians living abroad. One in seven Asian households benefit from remittances. In addition, Asia also has the highest global smartphone penetration.

Japanese firm Rakuten launched its $100 million fund in November 2015. 

A 600 Billion Industry

Currently over three quarters of Asian transactions are conducted offline through banks or money transfer operators (MTO), and as a result, the costs for senders is high, which is where the disruptor sees its opportunity.

«Azimo is already active in Asia however now, with the help of Rakuten’s investment, the company can start focusing on outbound remittances from Asia as well. The partnership will accelerate our Asian expansion and assist in our aim of developing ever deeper social network integrations,» Michael Kent, CEO and Founder, of Azimo said:

Launched in 2012, Azimo provides fast, simple and safe, Azimo has the largest digital network in the world, enabling customers to send money to over 190 countries, from any internet-connected device.

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