Ripple, Barclays, the Mastercard Foundation, and others have backed a $1.7 million round for SendFriend, a new remittance startup that will use the XRP cryptocurrency to move funds internationally. According to the company’s February 11 press release, MIT Media Lab, TechStars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital also participated in the round.
The company will reportedly use the investment to develop its remittance service, which lets users send money to the Philippines using blockchain. SendFriend will use Ripple’s xRapid product for cross-border payments, converting between USD, XRP, and Philippine pesos.
The service aims to replace the frictions and fees of the banking system with one seamless, ultra low-cost experience to send money globally, it said in the release, with fees that are 65% lower than the industry average.
SendFriend was founded at MIT by former World Bank and MoneyGram employees who wanted to create a better way for Filipinos to support their families from abroad.
“We are humbled by the support of our investors, who share in our vision to reduce the costs and improve the experience for the millions of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who send money home to support their families,” said David Lighton, SendFriend co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “This investment will allow us to build out our team, focus on community engagement, and marketing efforts.“