Blockchain startups make it cheaper to send money across borders

First came mobile phones and digital money. Now comes blockchain and digital-only currencies to further cut costs of cross-border remittances. A new crop of startups are taking aim at the $429 billion remittance market dominated by Western Union and MoneyGram, and in particular their high fees — an average of 7.45 percent per transaction (to be fair,

Can “mobility-as-a-service” end traffic jams by 2030?

A convergence of automation, digitization and the shared economy could make traffic jams a thing of the past…er…present. Poor mobility isn’t just agonizing. It affects health (emissions and accidents), stunts economic growth (lost time for workers and products) and contributes to inequality. “Does everyone have the opportunity to move around, or only those who can

Drop in global remittances hits families in poor countries

“A weakening of remittance flows can have a serious impact on the ability of families to get health care, education or proper nutrition,” says the World Bank’s Rita Ramalho. To blame, says the bank: low oil prices and weak economic growth in energy-rich Gulf countries, Europe and Russia, which took a toll on flows to South

Turkish online-payments firm Iyzico raises $15 million to fund Middle East expansion

Istanbul-based Iyzico was launched in 2012 to help merchants take advantage of Turkey’s large online customer base. It has since expanded across the Middle East, where it was the first international payments platform to integrate businesses from Iran. It plans to use the funds to expand further into new Middle Eastern markets and to Europe. With more than

Sand Hill Road VC discovers growth market for micro-loans with Tala

Shivani Siroya is expanding Tala’s smartphone-enabled micro-loans to South Asia and Latin America, backed by IVP, one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and biggest venture firms. IVP led Tala’s recent $30 million financing round, citing the global proliferation of cheap smartphones and the $2.1 trillion unmet need for credit. Tala tracks 10,000 data points, including financial transactions and

Thank mobile money if the world meets the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

Touted as a path to financial inclusion, mobile money directly touches at least 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, says GSMA, a global association of mobile phone operators, in its 10-year State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money. “A decade from now, everyone, including the world’s poor, should be able to send money to

Elevar and Accion double down on CreditMantri to help Indian borrowers

The Chennai-based online credit management venture CreditMantri is close to closing a $7.6 million Series B round from its existing investors. Accion’s investment is through its Frontier Inclusion Fund, reflecting CreditMantri’s graduation from Accion’s Venture Lab, which helped seed the company’s $2.5 million raise in 2015. Elevar Equity, IDG Ventures India and Newid Capital also participated.