U.K.-based digital money transfer company WorldRemit opened its Canadian headquarters in Toronto this week, a move that puts it in the midst of a growing market for cross-border payments solutions among immigrant populations.
The company’s Canadian operations were based in Montreal since 2011, but Corey Myckan, Canada country director at WorldRemit, said the company decided to locate its Canadian headquarters in Toronto because of the large communities of potential customers in the area and the city’s enabling environment for tech companies.
“Toronto is one of the largest tech hubs in North America,” said Corey Myckan, Canada country director at WorldRemit. “The other piece of the puzzle in terms of why we located here is its proximity to our customer base.”
After the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, Canada is the fourth largest market for the nine-year-old company. WorldRemit operates in 150 countries. Beyond its U.K. global headquarters, it has offices in the U.S, Poland, the U.K., the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. According to Myckan, the Toronto office will include such areas as compliance, marketing and business development.
WorldRemit would not comment on transaction volumes from Canadian customers, but Myckan said the company is reporting 50% growth each month among Canadian market segment. The company, however, declined to specify whether this figure represents user growth or transaction increases.
WorldRemit faces competition from other digital money transfer companies, including TransferWise and PayPal, as well as legacy providers like Western Union. Despite these pressures, the company said the ongoing digitization of money transfer services — from retail stores to apps and other online platforms — still represents a major opportunity.
“Most of the money transfer business is still in retail stores,” he said. “There are emerging digital players.” In addition, the company’s global footprint helps it compete against other companies operating in the field. The platform has strength among Canadian customers who send money to African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, and Cameroon, noted Myckan. The Philippines is also a major destination country for funds transferred from Canada via WorldRemit.
In June, WorldRemit closed a $175 million Series D funding round; it’s raised $386 million to date. The company is reportedly valued at $900 million. The Canadian remittance market represents a $24.5 billion market opportunity, noted WorldRemit. Meanwhile, annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017, according to the World Bank.