Cash Is Dying In The Developing World

WIRED: The financial technology (FinTech) sector is responsible for a record hike in venture capital being poured into London’s startup scene, a report has revealed ahead of our own WIRED Money event this week.

London and Partners, a public-private partnership created with backing from the Mayor of London and designed to promote the Capital outside the UK, announced on Friday that of the $1.47bn (£94m) VC funding raised during the first half of the year, $1.18bn (£75m) was invested into London businesses and of that, 40 percent was being directly invested into local FinTech.

FinTech businesses based in London, including Funding Circle, Azimo, WorldRemit (the company, due to take the stage at WIRED Money, raised $100m/£64m in February) and Currency Cloud, raised $472m (£302m) between January and July 2015.

Tech companies in general raised 80 percent of total funding and 70 percent of deals, the report adds. Read the full article

WIRED: Ismail Ahmed, CEO and founder of WorldRemit, has serious business to do with the two billion unbanked people in the world. Speaking at WIRED Money 2015, Ahmed explains how mobile money is transforming not only his own company, a platform for families to send money to one another across geographical boundaries, but whole economies.

“For millions of people in developing countries, their lives revolve around cash,” he says. “People are often forced to save their cash under the mattress. These people use cash for all their transactions. They can only buy things from people close to them.”

Enter the mobile phone.

A lot of these two billion unbanked people have access to mobile phones, which are enabling people to access financial services for the first time. Even for people using a very basic feature phone, their mobile numbers becomes their bank account. In 2014 there were 103 million active mobile bank accounts, up from 30 million in 2012. “These are services that are truly transforming the economies of developing countries,” says Ahmed. “These countries are becoming truly cashless.”

M-Pesa in Kenya is the mobile banking service that everyone knows, but in fact these days there are 261 different services across the world and they enable in total around 480 million transactions per month. Read the full artice