Disrupting the Banks $100 Billion Money Transfer Business in Africa⎜Day 21 vLog #StartupZone
How can we generate $10 billion in annual funding for Africa? The answer is simple: Disrupt the Banks.
Where does Africa get its funding? The answer is not just China, the EU or the UN. The majority of cash running Africa is sent home by The Diaspora- a global elite of Africans living abroad. Listen to a short inspirational conversation with Louis Muhire, CEO of Mergims talking about how Mergims is disrupting banks, and special guest Henry Erimodafe of Switzerland & Nigeria. These entrepreneurs are thinking BIG about the future with free internet and smartphones all across Africa!
THIS 👆🏽👆🏽👆🏽 is a 1-minute vLog featuring Louis and Henry’s Vision and Passion!
The Diaspora are well-educated, professional high-earners who feel a moral obligation to send money to extended family back home. In one country alone (Nigeria) citizens living abroad send home an estimated $100 Billion per year: $60 Billion through official channels (bank transfers) plus an estimated $40 billion via dodgier means (physically carrying hard currency over borders, pawnshop fax-schemes). More than $10+ Billion of this money is being lost on fees to middlemen like banks. By way of comparison — the EU promised only EUR 58 million in aid over the next five years.
Note: the above is an estimate based on our experience of payments including stated commissions plus hidden fees in the form of exchange rates from Canada to Nigeria from a major bank and a successful FinTech challenger.
Meet Mergims — Sending Money with Purpose
Mergims focused on the actual purpose of sending money back home — which is almost always to help family members pay for certain expenses like utilities, health care, medicine, electricity, tuition or gifts. Mergims use the existing credit card network as a workaround to let people make direct purchases in Africa. This turned out to be an efficient way to “remit money” without actually remitting cash and incurring high transfer fees. The Diaspora now pay directly for services without the cash leg.
Mergims staff regularly interview local businesses on the platform and review data patterns — to ensure trusted delivery of the intended services. For example a Pharmacist using the platform will confirm which medicine was delivered to the family member via the Mergims platform. This ensures high trust and efficiency of the platform. An early learning at Mergims was that user experience has to be premium. Professionals sending money to Africa are themselves digital natives and expect things to happen within seconds!
Longer-term vision: Blockchain & Free Smartphones
“Forget today — Think of how things will look 5 years from now and build for that.” — Louis Muhire
Mergims are developing the next-gen business model that will use Blockchain infrastructure and detach completely from today’s banking one. In the Pharmacy example: Using Ethereum and smart contracts the pharmacist can posts sickness and medical details directly onto the transaction record to confirm prior to remittance delivery. The Blockchain Opportunity itself in Africa is endless — from land records, police records, automobile titles and insurance. Smart Contracts solve for the major issue of missing infrastructure — it records the single truth.
According to Louis Muhire, in only five years Smartphones will be FREE in Africa. One growth vector for Mergims will be to partner with a Chinese smartphone provider to put 100,000 smartphones to good use. People who register for Mergims platform will someday soon get a free smartphone to manage their remittance receipts. Donors will see digital receipts in their e-wallet managing their whole back-home family in a trusted, secure platform with purpose.
How You Can Get Involved
Are you a digital entrepreneur looking to disrupt the international payments scene? Can you code Ethereum? Are you a payments architect process expert who has experience executing new business models? DM myself, Louis or Henry to find out more about this exciting disruption happening now.
My name is David Bruno and I am an entrepreneur, startup coach and investor.