Region: South East
Programme: VC Catalyst Fund
Azimo is a market-leading digital money transfer service within the growing c.$700bn global remittance market.
Azimo allows users to transfer money digitally across the world at a much cheaper rate than traditional FX service providers. Money can be transferred to a recipient’s bank account or mobile phone in minutes via secure payment, or collected as cash in person. Unlike traditional remittance companies, Azimo only accepts electronic transfers inbound, making anti-fraud checks more simple and secure. It has the most comprehensive pay-out network of any digital player, with over 190 destination countries giving access to five billion reachable customers in 77 different currencies. Azimo is capitalising and supporting two long-term and important global social-economic trends: the disintermediation of traditional finance and migration.
Founded in 2012, Azimo’s team had unrivalled depth and knowledge of the sector having previously founded and managed a market leading traditional remittance business in Europe, Small World Financial Services, which was acquired by Equistone. However, in 2015, Azimo needed the right partner to scale-up, having proven itself and found product-market fit. With the help of British Business Bank delivery partner Frog Capital, Azimo has navigated the challenging scale-up phase.
The initial Frog investment in May 2015 was £4.2m in leading a round of £10m to support explosive revenue growth of 260%. Azimo used additional funding in 2016 to consolidate its European growth and develop its product further (especially the mobile offering). Frog has since gone on to support Azimo with a total of £9.9m, most recently as part of a Series C funding round led by Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce and fintech services company which is a strategic investor and important for advancing Azimo’s ambitions in Europe and Asia. In H1 2018, Azimo finds itself at the top of a $125bn EU market, with strong tech leadership and sustained top-line growth of 100%. In 2017/18 year, transaction volume was up 74% at £466m and transactions increased 90% to 1.65m.
Frog’s strong relationships with existing Azimo investors and Frog’s thematic work into fin-tech was vital in them being chosen as the preferred investor. It was also important that Frog had a size of fund that would support further follow on funding rounds expected. Scaling up is more than just capital. As ‘The CEO’s VC’, Frog supported the CEO, Michael Kent, to broaden the management team and helped facilitate the recruitments of a new CTO and COO through its Scale-Up Methodology.
“Frog was flagged early as a good potential partner by our existing investors. The Azimo team has enjoyed getting to know them and we feel that their intelligent but straight talking culture gels with our own…. we feel confident they are the right partner to add significant value during the next stage of our growth.” Michael Kent, CEO, Azimo.