Migrants bank Rebtel targets US launch
Sweden-based digital bank for migrants Rebtel is on course for $100 million in revenue this year and a US launch in 2019.
As reported in June, it secured $8 million in funding to add digital banking services to its communication and on-demand work offerings for migrants.
In the latest chapter, the firm, which is backed by Index Ventures and Balderton Capital, says it is expected to reach over $100 million in revenue this year due to its existing suite of services, and because it has over one million paying customers. It also says it is profitable.
Philip Mikal, former VP of global financial services at Klarna and now chief product officer at Rebtel, explains: “Our customers are currently using a set of services (calling cards, money orders, debit cards) that are sold in a very disjointed fashion and it’s our goal to unify them in one experience under one app. Banking is just the final piece.”
According to the bank, its workforce is comprised of people with “strong standing” in the Latino and Cuban exile communities in Texas and Miami. “We’ve nearly doubled our developing resources – since we are building the services from the ground up, as we want them and as we believe our users will want them,” Mikal comments.
Rebtel says it is built by migrants for migrants with 45+ nationalities amongst the employees, and its new banking services are launching in Q2 2019 in the US.
The idea to expand into banking was sparked from Rebtel’s current offering that allows customers to send money through the app to emerging markets. This service alone is growing with 125% year on year and the firm says it now stands close to 20% of the total revenue in 2018.
FinTech Futures spoke with Mikal about these new services. He wouldn’t offer any details “for reasons of competition” but in terms of funding it will “self-fund” this launch.
“We are keen on building the best offer for our very clear user group: ambitious migrants who have established themselves in the US in search of a new life,” Mikal says. “Some have done it for love, others for career reasons, some have fled from war or poverty – they have in common a set of specific challenges that anyone who crosses a border has – not just the US one: they lack credit history and social networks, they might lack a job and so on. We work to fix those problems one at the time, and later in 2019 we turn to banking.”