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Azimo: This changes everything

All big ideas come from either big problems or big opportunities, or at best, a response to both. In the simplest terms, Azimo is a platform to send money online from one place to another. Money transfer. Specifically catering for the market sector of migrant workers. As a company, and a sector, it’s literally changes World.

Marta gives me the stats: There are almost 250 million migrants, living in ‘foreign’ countries, and from these, $600 billion is transmitted annually in remittances. A total of 700million people globally send or receive money from abroad.

She quotes Bill Gates who in 2011 said, “If remittance costs were halved from the current average of 10% of the transfer value to 5%, it would unlock $15Billion in poor countries.” It’s a big ‘if’, and a big amount of money, Marta puts it in context.

“£15B could feed half of Ethiopia for a year, or provide a mosquito net for every man, woman and child in Africa and Asia.”

The fee’s Azimo charge equate to 2% on average, taking into account the fixed charge per transaction plus the exchange rate.

Even in 2012, Marta explains, people were far from con dent in putting their debit cards into a website, and transferring digitally. We have a face to face instinct when it comes to transferring money, it’s to do with trust ultimately. We want to see it happen.

Even now, over 90% of remittance happens offline. Branches, shops, tellers, call centers, these all need paying for, ultimately by the customers. I heard a statistic a few days later, from another challenger fintech, they claimed that up to 4% of turnover from some of these companies goes on (non) compliance fines. Again, passed back to the end users in charges and fees. Nondigital transfer of money across the World is clumsy, multi-processed, risky, and accordingly expensive.

Creating true disruption in any sector frequently comes down to drawing the straightest line between two points. Straightness in process and attitude. This approach, with elegant and robust tech, consistently out competes the ‘hidden charges apply’ of the past. Azimo is all about transparency and value, disintermediation, removing the middle processes and starting at the consumers’ need. It’s an ethical quest, moral business, modern business. It’s also more effective, more efficient, more straightforward, easier to market. When we step back and consider the norm used to be fundamentally predatory in attitude, it’s little wonder times are changing, and dif cult to feel any sympathy for the exploitative businesses now trying to hold on to their outdated everything.

“Global poverty could end through the globalisation of remittance ability. Certainly, it can’t end without it”.

For Marta it’s a personal quest, I can feel it and hear it in the language she uses.

“…they have the courage to leave their homes, to travel to another country, to work hard and get paid to be able to send enough of that money home to support a family… The most hard working, lowest paid, most exploited… Money transfer isn’t a luxury to these 250million people; it’s a regular, frequent, necessity.”

The modern poor are those who don’t have access to remittances. The equalisation of wealth doesn’t mean the equalisation of wages. It’s the equalisation of access to remittance that’s the key to global equality. And the smartphone is the key to all of it.

The number of smartphones is currently on par with the number of bank accounts. By 2020 the ratio will be 3:1. This is going to define the next generation of people, and their understanding of money, what it is, and where it comes from. From airtime credit, digital wallets, to cash from hundreds of thousands of retail points. None of it needing bank accounts.

Global poverty could end through the globalisation of remittance ability. Certainly, it can’t end without it.

Smartphones might just be the single most important development in humanitarian terms since… almost anything. The smartphone will enable it, and the money transfer companies, Azimo, Revolut, TransferGo, World Remit and many more, will facilitate it.

It’s another level of the Internet of money. The understanding of finance as a technology. And realising its unlimited availability as a consequence.

[author title=”Marta Krupinska” image=”http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Marta_Krupinska-66-of-90.jpg”]Occupation: General Manager & Co-founder, Azimo.

Born: Krakow, Poland.

Education: Masters in Organisational Psychology from Jagiellonian University in Poland and a Management degree from Columbia Business School.

CAREER

2008 – 2011 MD & Founder, Travelnity.com

2012 Somerset House and London 2012 Olympics

2012 – Present General Manager and Co-founder, Azimo

FAVORITE

Books: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Films: ”There Will be Blood” a great example of the emotional price of success

Restaurant: Anything Thai

Hobbies: Travelling and listening to Jazz music

Politics: John Oliver for Prime Minister!

Business philosophy: Success doesn’t come from playing it safe. You’ll either achieve something great or make a mistake. Mistakes can be key to success, as long as you’re ready to act fast on them, learn and next time do better.[/author]

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