Cross-Border Payments Platform Zepz Secures £212m Funding

UK-based digital cross-border payments platform now has a valuation of $5 billion (£3.6 billion).

Zepz, formerly WorldRemit, a digital cross-border payments platform based in the UK, has raised $292 million (£212.6 million) in new primary financing, giving it a valuation of $5 billion (£3.6 billion).

The name change and the juicy funding both happened this week. The round includes new equity investors Farallon Capital among others, as well as backing from existing investors Leapfrog, TCV and Accel.

The funding will be used to invest in its technology, platform and “customer proposition”. It is vague, but Zepz says it sees growth opportunities in its existing markets and plans expansion into new markets.

Breon Corcoran, CEO of Zepz, explains: “Following the acquisition of Sendwave we have made significant progress with the integration of the different businesses and are retaining both the Sendwave and WorldRemit brands. In that context we are proud to announce the rebranding of our holding company to Zepz.”

There was no explanation as to why Zepz is the new name. But it’s the next step for a company that was founded 11 years ago.

Zepz works in the P2P cross-border payments market. Back in 2019 it eyed up action in the B2B space with the launch of its remittance platform WorldRemit for Business. This lets UK-based SMEs pay employees and contractors in 140 countries.

It has two brands (WorldRemit and Sendwave, acquired in 2021) with over 11 million users across 150 countries.

Zepz says it reaches over 5,000 money transfer corridors, including emerging markets. Last year Zepz’s brands enabled over 4.5 million monthly transactions generating almost $10 billion (£7.3 billion) of gross send volumes and $338 million (£246 million) of revenues.

The company has its headquarters in London, with regional offices in the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa, Somaliland, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Belgium.

Zepz’s competitors include Azimo, BrainTree, MoneyGram, Revolut, Small World Financial Services, Token, Western Union and Wise (formerly TransferWise).

The Cross-Border Payments Market

Juniper Research found that the total value of B2B cross-border payments will reach $35 trillion (£25.5 trillion) in 2022, from a COVID-related low of $27 trillion (£19.6 trillion) in 2020, representing 30% growth. It believes the long-lasting economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that cross-border values will only exceed 2019 values by 2022.

The Bank of England says that over the past few decades, the increased international mobility of goods and services, capital and people has contributed to the growing economic importance of cross-border payments.

It says the value of cross-border payments (NB. that’s not just B2B) is estimated to increase from almost $150 trillion (£109.2 trillion) in 2017 to over $250 trillion (£182 trillion) by 2027.

The bank cites several growth factors that have been intensifying over recent years. They include manufacturers expanding their supply chains across borders; cross-border asset management and global investment flows; international trade and e-commerce; and migrants sending money via international remittances.

According to the bank, remittances in particular play a vital role in low and middle-income economies and in some cases are becoming the primary source of development finance.

There are a number of challenges for cross-border payments.

For instance, the Bank of England points out that cross-border payments lag domestic ones in terms of cost, speed, access and transparency. In addition, there are fragmented and truncated data formats; complex processing of compliance checks; limited operating hours; and legacy technology platforms.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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