Online money transfer service Azimo banks $1 million + seed funding for European expansion

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Azimo, the innovative digital service that gives consumers cheaper international money transfers, is set for expansion after closing a $1million + seed-funding round from global technology investment firm, e.ventures. In a move backed by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Tech City UK, eVentures, which has previously invested in Groupon and Pulse, is making the investment in London-based Azimo out of its European office.

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Every year, people are wasting more than £50 million by paying over-the-top remittance fees. That’s something Azimo is addressing, making it simpler and cheaper than ever

Azimo, the innovative digital service that gives consumers cheaper international money transfers, is set for expansion after closing a $1million + seed-funding round from global technology investment firm, e.ventures.

In a move backed by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Tech City UK, eVentures, which has previously invested in Groupon and Pulse, is making the investment in London-based Azimo out of its European office.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable said: “This German investment into a British start-up demonstrates that the UK has the infrastructure, the skills base and the competitive edge to capitalise on our expertise in both financial services and digital technology and UKTI is working to ensure that the UK is leading the way in the FinTech revolution. Competition in the financial services sector is vital to ensure consumers get the best deal possible and I commend Azimo on securing this financing.”

To mark the occasion, and as a thank you to customers on its upcoming first birthday, Azimo is making all transfers (already up to 85% cheaper than high street banks) totally free, starting today and throughout October.

Consumers can use the Azimo service via web, mobile app or Facebook to send money to friends, family or other contacts in 190 countries. At between 1% and 2%, usual charges are far lower than Western Union, PayPal or the banks - and Azimo’s convenience means cash arrives quickly in recipients’ bank accounts, local cash collection locations or even as mobile wallet top-up credit.

“Our recent growth has been extraordinary,” said Azimo founder and CEO Michael Kent. “Every year, people are wasting more than £50 million by paying over-the-top remittance fees. That’s something Azimo is addressing, making it simpler and cheaper than ever to transfer money.

“We have big ideas for using social, mobile and digital technology to shake up money transfer to the developing world, which, for years, has held consumers hostage to excessive fees. With this investment, we will expand our network and launch our service in the rest of Europe.”

Online money transfer is set to be big business with the market sized at over $500bn annually by the World Bank. Azimo founders Michael Kent and Ricky Knox have already been successful in the sector, having formed Small World Financial Services Group and grown it to $4.5 billion turnover. Now Azimo is targeting technology to bring even greater simplicity, and a growing global migration trend, to make waves again.

e.ventures partner Andreas Haug said: “The European financial services sector is ripe for reinvention, and British companies like Azimo are at the forefront of that process. The team has done a fantastic job building a service whose simplicity masks the underlying complexity of what, for too long, has been a confusing and convoluted industry. We are excited to back the team and further support Azimo with its global expansion.”

Azimo has already received Angel funding from noted financial services investors including CapitalOne founder Matt Cooper. These angels also participated in the latest investment round.

Already one of the world’s financial capitals and increasingly the crucible in which technology startups are formed, London is also a hive of financial technology activity. The city is home to 32 of the FinTech 50 Europe watchlist companies. Just one “fintech” segment, peer-to-peer lending, has already trebled in the last three years and is forecast to be worth £1 billion by 2016, according to Open Data Institute figures.

Joanna Shields, CEO to Tech City UK said, “Fin-tech is a lucrative and exciting growth market with many start-ups and young businesses creatively disrupting traditional models and re-imagining our relationship with money. I hope that Azimo's success and this funding milestone will inspire other investors to join in the new wave of financial innovation happening in London.”

                                                                    -ENDS-

About Azimo:
Founded in 2012 and based in London, Azimo can send money to 190 countries around the world from any internet connected device. In February, Azimo launched Facebook integration to help consumers facilitate money transfer via the social network. The company is especially used by the growing population of foreign-born residents in many countries, who send money overseas.

About Azimo’s founders
Co-founders Michael Kent and Ricky Knox met whilst studying for MBAs at the INSEAD business school. Cambridge-educated Kent has held senior positions at Arthur D. Little, WPP and News Corp. Knox was previously associate director at investment firm MMC Ventures.
Each part of the Hexagon Partners investment firm, Michael and Ricky previously formed the Small World Financial Services Ltd remittance provider, building it from scratch in to a $4.5 billion turnover company.

About e.ventures
Founded in 1998 and built on a strong, shared culture of entrepreneurship, e.ventures is a venture capital firm with global scale. The firm invests out of dedicated funds in five geographies, namely BV e.ventures (U.S.), e.ventures Europe, e.ventures Russia, Infinity e.ventures (China and Japan) and Redpoint e.ventures (Brazil and Latin America). The e.ventures team has been investing in Internet companies for more than 15 years and operates as one team by combining a global investment strategy and philosophy with local presence and insights. Focused exclusively at the intersection of consumer Internet, media and mobile, e.ventures aims to help entrepreneurs build transformative companies.

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Marta Krupinska
Azimo Ltd
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Kirsty Langan
Clarity PR
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