The Big Winners In Mobile Money Transfer Service Remitly’s IPO

By Gené Teare,


Shares of money transfer company Remitly closed up more than 12 percent in their first day of trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

The Seattle-based company had priced shares above the expected range at $43, valuing the company at $6.9 billion. Remitly said it sold 7 million shares to raise around $300 million through its IPO on the Nasdaq, where it started trading under the ticker symbol RELY.

Founded in 2011, Remitly initially processed payments between the U.S. and Philippines. The company was founded by CEO Matt Oppenheimer, COO Josh Hug and engineer Shivaas Gulati. The company now processes payments from 17 countries that can send and 115 countries that can receive transfers. It has about 1,600 employees across eight global offices.

The cross-border remittance market was an estimated $1.5 trillion in 2020, according to Remitly’s S-1 filing. In the 12 months ending June 30, the company says it processed $16.1 billion, or around 1 percent of the global 2020 market.

Who wins?

As a private company, Remitly raised $505 million from 29 investors across all of its funding rounds, per Crunchbase data.

The biggest winners in its IPO in terms of ownership percentage pre-IPO are:

PayU (23.9 percent) of Naspers, which led the Series D and F;
Stripes (12.1 percent), which led the Series C;
Threshold (9.4 percent), which led the Series B;
Generation Investment Management (8 percent), which led the Series E; and
Trilogy Equity Partners (6.2 percent), which led a seed round.

Breaking it down

Remitly had 2.4 million customers transact in the second quarter of 2021, per its SEC filings.

For the six months ending June 30, 2021, revenue was $202.1 million, up 92 percent from the same time frame a year earlier.

Losses were down year over year, clocking in at $9.2 million in the first six months of 2021, compared with $21.1 million for the same period in 2020.

On the risk side of the business, Remitly acknowledges that payments are complex and involve many third parties not directly under its control, which can lead to disruption or delay of its service and impact its customers.

But perhaps the larger risk the company faces is an increasingly competitive payments landscape. Many companies and technologies already operate in this space, and the industry is also experiencing the growth of neobanks as well as new cryptocurrency providers that are shaping the future of financial services.

“Although still in early stages, cryptocurrency usage is growing, and, if we are unable to integrate cryptocurrency or other new financial technologies into our services, we may be unable to compete successfully,” Remitly noted in its S-1 filing.

Wise’s direct listing

Another leading peer-to-peer money transfer service, London-based Wise, went public in July. The direct listing valued the company at $11 billion. According to Wise’s most recent earnings report, 3.7 million customers transacted on the platform in the first quarter of the current financial year 2022. Its cross-border transaction volume was $22.4 billion with revenue of $168.7 million in the first quarter.

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