Impact Engine’s Inaugural Class: Pangea
Despite the size of the market, the money transfer space has not witnessed much of an evolution over the past two decades. Western Union brick and mortar storefronts remain the mainstay, while other companies attempting innovation, such as M-Pesa in Kenya, have struggled to scale beyond their test markets. In an effort to revolutionize the money transfer market, we created our company Pangea. Pangea aims to empower 2.5 billion underbanked consumers around the world by providing them with more convenient, low-cost, and reliable access to basic financial services such as peer-to-peer money transfer. More specifically, over 215 million migrant workers employed in foreign countries are remitting in excess of $370 billion back to their home communities through formal channels. Informal money transfer systems (“IMTS”), such as Hawala networks, double the international remittance estimates to over $700 billion. Our view remains that the developing world is looking less and less like Kenya and more like Bangladesh – the latter demonstrating tangible progress towards stable financial and banking sectors. As the 10 largest remittance destination countries continue to establish their banking infrastructure, a company looking to make a meaningful impact in the sector will need to dovetail its program with international banking standards and develop beyond a simple mobile app or card-to-card program. Without more advanced solutions, an emerging payments company will never displace the mainstay players and change the global consumer remittance experience. Perhaps the biggest challenges when tackling the world of remittance is scale. Can a company develop a model that is both sustainable and scalable? At Pangea, we believe we are building a truly disruptive platform that has solved this payments conundrum. Our platform builds on the prepaid networks that have seen significant adoption over the last 15 years, enabling the proliferation of various prepaid products (gift cards, telecom, etc.). Empirical research from VISA and Mastercard has clearly demonstrated the rapid growth of prepaid stored value solutions across much of the developing world. We will capitalize on this trajectory using our proprietary technology and a differentiated approach to market. We have seen remarkable support from our channel partners who are passionate about being part of a solution that empowers consumers that are often not able to participate in the traditional financial sector.