LemFi Raises $33 Million To Transform Financial Services For Immigrants Everywhere
OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — LemFi, a leading fintech platform transforming financial services for immigrants, has raised a $33 million Series A round led by Left Lane Capital. Other investors included Y-Combinator, Zrosk, Global Founders Capital, and Olive Tree.
Each year, millions of immigrants move abroad to start new lives, and the biggest hurdle they face is access to financial services. In 2020, Founders Ridwan Olalere and Rian Cochran joined forces to solve these challenges with a vision to build a platform that empowers the next generation of immigrants.
Olalere and Cochran first met while building OPay – one of Africa’s most successful fintech platforms. After combined decades of navigating the underlying complexities and regulatory nuances of cross-border payments in emerging markets, the two were uniquely positioned to leverage their experience as a launching pad for LemFi.
Olalere, LemFi’s CEO, drew from his own experience as an immigrant and shared, “Having lived on three continents and leading a multicultural team, our mission is deeply personal: creating a world where financial services are universally accessible. We’ve already made life easier for over half a million people, but we’re only just getting started.”
Today, within minutes of residency, a user can onboard with LemFi and use its multi-currency offering to send, receive, hold, convert and save in the currencies of both their country of origin and country of residence. In addition, LemFi also offers instant international transfers at the best exchange rates with zero fees on transfers or account maintenance.
“Our product is a game changer for users since traditional banks and other leading neo-banks have always steered clear of less common or more volatile currencies,” Ridwan Olalere explained. “This has driven immigrants to often use unsafe, informal channels or to stitch together several other services to solve some of their basic financial needs. Until now.”
In 2020, LemFi launched in Canada to enable easy and low-cost remittance payments to Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. By 2021, the company quickly expanded to the UK, and in parallel, broadened its reach by enabling 10 new African remittance corridors.
In a strategic consideration, LemFi acquired UK-based Rightcard Payment Services in late 2021. Through the acquisition, LemFi obtained an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to provide customers with more services, such as higher transaction limits, e-money accounts, and more.
“LemFi has been very deliberate and strategic in acquiring licenses and building a robust network of financial institution partners to facilitate cross-border payments for immigrants,” said Matthew Miller, Principal at Left Lane Capital, who joined LemFi’s Board of Directors as part of the transaction. “We’re excited to support LemFi as it expands its product offering to serve more immigrant communities globally.”
2023 has similarly been a pivotal year for LemFi, with its new subsidiary Rightcard Payment Services securing an International Money Transfer Operator (IMTO) license from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The IMTO license will enable LemFi to offer its services in partnership with Nigerian banks, empowering users by eliminating the need for intermediaries. The Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Folashodun Shonubi, recognizes the alignment of LemFi with the Central Bank’s goals of improving the availability of foreign exchange in Nigeria and ensuring exchange rate stability.
LemFi remains committed to offering accessible and transparent financial services to migrant communities across the globe. With the conclusion of this latest investment round, the Company will seek to expand its product offering to the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, as well as innovate on new product offerings according to the needs of its users.
About Left Lane Capital
Founded in 2019, Left Lane Capital is a New York and London based global venture capital and growth equity firm investing in internet and technology companies with a consumer orientation. Left Lane’s mission is to partner with extraordinary entrepreneurs who create category-defining companies across growth sectors of the economy, including software, healthcare, e-commerce, consumer, fintech, edtech, and other industries. Select investments include GoStudent, M1 Finance, Wayflyer, Yokoy, Masterworks, Blank Street, Talkiatry, WeTravel, and more. For more information, please visit www.leftlane.com.