SendFriend lands funding for Ripple-based remittance service

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SendFriend has raised $1.7 million in a funding round to support the launch of its money transmission service for overseas Filipino workers to transfer U.S. dollars to the Philippines' pesos.

Mastercard Foundation, Ripple, Barclays, Media Lab, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures and 8 Decimal Capital participated in the funding.

New York-based SendFriend positions itself as the only option for those foreign workers to securely send money internationally with fees that are 65 percent lower than the industry average, while also eliminating the friction and fees of the banking system.

It does so through a partnership with blockchain company Ripple, leveraging xRapid. Ripple's XRP currency is used as a liquidity vehicle for cross-border payments, enabling SendFriend to circumvent the corresponding banking system and convert the U.S. dollars in a matter of seconds.

“We are humbled by the support of our investors, who share in our vision to reduce the costs and improve the experience for the millions of overseas Filipino workers who send money home to support their families,” David Lighton, SendFriend co-founder and CEO, said in a Monday press release. “This investment will allow us to build out our team, focus on community engagement, and marketing efforts.“

The company is addressing a situation in which it says millions of migrants in the U.S. spent more than $45 billion in fees on remittance services, which often took three to five days, in order to send home more than $650 billion in remittances.

Founded at MIT by individuals with roots at The World Bank and MoneyGram, SendFriend was accepted into the Barclays Accelerator Program powered by Techstars to work on its software.

SendFriend plans to first launch in New Jersey in the coming weeks and will soon be available to workers in other states through a desktop platform and mobile app.

"SendFriend has built strong partnerships along its supply chain, while developing a foundation to significantly minimize friction in the system," investor Yuan Ruan, founder of 8 Decimal Capital, said in the release. "This is a highly competitive space with longtime incumbents, but we are confident in the success of SendFriend."

The company has an experienced team, a $650 billion remittance market, investors that provide more than just capital, and a growth strategy "focused on more than revenue from transactions including APIs and white-label solutions," Ruan added.

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