Profile: Ismail Ahmed, the founder and CEO of WorldRemit

Ismail Ahmed is the founder of WorldRemit, a London-based money transfer service that lets people send money to friends and family in other countries.

In 2015, the company raised $100m in a Series B funding round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) and Accel Partners.

Ahmed is CEO of the company.

While studying in London, Ahmed needed to send money home to his family in Africa. Every transaction meant a long journey across the city to an agent who charged a small fortune in fees.

Right then, he said he decided to try to make a difference in an industry that supports millions of people exactly like him.

Ahmed, who grew up in Somaliland, became interested in the money transfer industry after realising how many people relied on it. Studying economics in the UK he learned the industry’s nuances.

He then helped to run a money transfer project as part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aiming to make a positive difference in a sector that’s vulnerable to crime.

WorldRemit was first launched as AfricaRemit. It offered a service for migrant workers to send money to countries across the world using just a smartphone and app. The service cut out the middleman – the agents needed to deal out the money.

In 2014, WorldRemit received a £33m Series A investment from Accel Partners.

In 2015, it raised £82m Series B funding led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), an early investor in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack. In 2016, came another £37m of working capital facilities from TriplePoint Venture Growth and Silicon Valley Bank.

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg