'Phone' bank gets $17m in Digicel-led fundraising
Denis O'Brien's Digicel mobile group has invested in a California-based firm that enables people to transfer money internationally using their phones.
Boom Financial confirmed that it received $17m (€13.8m) in series C equity in a fundraising round that was led by Digicel. Other investors, including RRE Ventures and Matt.org, also took part in the fundraising. It brings the total raised by the firm to over $30m.
Formerly known as m-Via, Boom Financial wants to transform itself into being the main 'bank' for people -- primarily immigrants -- who don't have bank accounts and want to send money back to their home country.
With a major presence in the Caribbean and footholds in other markets including Central America, Digicel's investment in Boom Financial comes as a major boost to the US firm.
Boom charges users $2 every time they make a deposit and $25 to set up an account. But they don't pay any fee to transfer money. They can put money in from 15,000 locations in the US and then authorise transfers using their mobile phone. Recipients can access the money from 100,000 ATMs around the world using a Boom debit card.
Digicel says its customers in the Caribbean and Central America get $5bn in cash remittances yearly from the US.