Reducing cost and simplifying remittances for migrant workers
Company: TANGapp provides a peer-to-peer international mobile payment platform that allows migrant workers to send money home in a manner that is convenient and much lower cost than existing alternatives.
HQ Location & Year Founded: New York, 2020
Founder: Rebecca Kersch, Founder and CEO, started TANGapp following several years working at Said Business School of Oxford University. She has also been a management consultant with Strategy& and has worked in field strategy with the United Nations. Rebecca has lived in several countries across the globe and is a graduate of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Sydney, Rotterdam School of Management, as well as the Harvard Kennedy School.
Funds Raised and VC Investors: $1.5 million in pre-seed funding from grants including the Harvard President’s Innovation Challenge, MassChallenge, and 17 angels. Currently closing their seed round of $2.5 million, with investors including Goodwater, Visible Hands, and TEN13.
Where did the idea for TANGapp originate?
I am Filipino, Dutch, and American. I grew up in the Netherlands, but went to the Philippines every year. My aunt has always been a migrant worker, who lived outside the Philippines and always sent money home by Western Union, which is what most migrants use. They pay an average of 8% of their pay to send money home. That means one month of every year’s income goes just to cover Western Union fees. This has always struck me as exorbitant. I went to do on-the-ground research in the Philippines and had a realization that the market needed a peer-to-peer payment app that would lower fees to migrant workers and give people in the Philippines access to better financial services. I then set about to create an international P2P mobile payment app, like Venmo, that would allow people to send money home and eventually have use for in-home and personal purchases as well.
What is the key problem that TANGapp intends to solve?
Our vision is that sending money should be as easy as texting. We are using the Philippines as a beachhead since it is a large market of 110 million people. An estimated $35 billion is sent home each year, accounting for 10% of the country’s GDP. Global remittances are close to $590 billion. Many of these recipients are unbanked and therefore need more convenient and cost-effective solutions for sending and receiving money.
How are you most differentiated as a service?
We are building an international P2P mobile payment app that will allow transactions of as little as $5 to be sent from the US to the Philippines, for example. We focus on micropayments of under $100 and are building a tool that brings together the best of Remitly, Wise, Venmo and other cash apps. We are building a platform that is horizontal and will connect the $35 billion of remittances from the start to the end of the value chain. We have developed a payment rail setup that works with API partners to keep fees as low as possible.
What are the company’s key accomplishments to date?
We grew in 2022 by over 35% month-on-month after our launch. Over 14,000 people have installed our app and we have more than 40% repeat usage. We have big partnerships with charities in the Philippines. It’s hard to get donations from the US, but donations can go through TANG for as little as $10. We have launched several products, grown to 12 people, and we are now approved for remittances licenses in the Philippines and US.
What lies ahead in the plans for TANGapp?
We have some big product launches coming this year and our plan is to grow our transaction volume by 20x. The next big plan is to explore growth in another country.
The plight of migrant workers is too often overlooked and downright dismissed. Frequently treated as second class citizens, migrants very often do the critical low wage jobs that natives to a country will not. They leave their homelands not to mooch off of the largesse of others, but to serve vital needs and to generate income that is quite often not for themselves but really to support their families back home. The simple act of sending what they earn back home, however, is essentially “taxed” by a system of cash remittance intermediaries. This system is essentially fully automated today by incumbent institutions that operate the infrastructure behind these payments. And yet, what amounts to a one month tax on yearly earnings is what migrants have to pay just to share their own hard-earned money with loved ones back home who need the money as a matter of survival. Disruptive companies like TANG app are on the forefront of reducing these unfortunate financial burdens. In the process, they are making remittances faster and easier for all. More migrant workers providing services will benefit both the country in which they arrive to work as well as the people back home who have fewer opportunities for economic advancement. Migrants must be rewarded rather than penalized for the hard work and sacrifices that they endure. TANG app is helping migrants to make one important step forward.