Singapore-based Toast, a remittance application that allows migrant workers to send money to their home countries has obtained a license form MAS to operate as a remittance agent. It has received license from financial regulators in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom as well.
Toast also has secured a pre-series A funding of about S$2 million from Aetius Capital. The round also saw the participation of 1776, a US-based venture capital fund and, Pepper Group, an Australia-based global financial services firm.
With the capital, the company for starters will fuel its growth to serve a larger number of remittance corridors in 2017, with countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia part of the agenda. In Singapore, the users can transfer money from their bank account or direct pay options such as Nets/FlashPay. For future, it intends to operate in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and possibly add China to its network by next year end.
Aaron Siwoku founder and CEO, Toast, said,
We look to provide a more convenient and efficient way for migrant workers to remit money. The traditional structure for remittance was considered tried and true: Two to three hours long queues and days of waiting for funds to arrive. With a strong global push towards mobile and Web banking, there’s no reason money transfers for the under-banked shouldn’t happen in real time, while simultaneously reducing queues to the point that they are a thing of the past.
He added they plan to do this by first addressing basic issues facing people who are trying to send money back to their families. From there, they will continue to provide innovative solutions to meet their needs and develop Toast into an ever more sophisticated financial services platform for the under-banked.
Since its inception as working product in Hong Kong, its money transfer remittances from Hong Kong to the Philippines have grown to more than S$1.3 million a month since March.
Mr. Siwoku added that they are very excited to have the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore in granting Toast the license as they address a real issue faced by many migrant workers here, particularly Filipinos, who are critical yet largely under-served demographic in the local economy. He also said they look forward to possible services that can be offered to this demographic, which is under-served by banks today, include loans during an emergency.
The firm will also set up a physical store with eight digital stations in Lucky Plaza for users to carry out their transfers.