FinTech: EMQ engages in a rapid expansion campaign
Hong Kong-based financial settlement network EMQ has announced its plan to expand operations into the North American market, starting in Canada.
The company, which leverages technology to optimise cross-border cashless payments for businesses and individuals by making them cost-effective and fast, has officially registered with FINTRAC, Canada’s financial intelligence unit.
"Canada is among one of the leading remittance sending markets in the world,” said Max Liu, CEO and co-founder.
“With our new Money Service Business registration, we can now connect EMQ’s global network to Canada and provide increased access and value-added services to the financial sector.”
Supporting market demand
Canada’s digital remittances are valued at an estimated CA$1.4bn, a figure which is expected to grow to $2bn in the next three years. EMQ views itself as providing the necessary service to facilitate this expanding market demand.
With a network map that covers Europe, China, Hong Kong and most of Southeast Asia, the company’s value lies in its neutrality, i.e. it does not compete with front-end or app-based customer-facing partners.
A highly flexible turnkey solution, EMQ describes its network as capable of being deployed across multiple verticals, including banks, payroll, procurement, e-commerce and more, all whilst strictly adhering to regional compliances and regulations.
"As a network infrastructure provider that connects the whole payments ecosystem, our goal is to enable everyone to send money anywhere in the world and to any endpoint in a fully compliant and transparent manner,” Liu continues.
“Our expansion to Canada marks another major milestone in our journey to fulfil this promise."
A rapid expansion campaign
The company’s entry into North America is the latest move in rapid expansion campaign which has seen it establish a presence in Singapore, Malaysia and sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya) in the last month.
Regarding growth in Africa, EMQ expressed particular satisfaction that its services would help alleviate the high expenses of transferring money within the region (9.3%).
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.