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Ismail Ahmed- WorldRemit Boss and Remittance Specialist.


Ismail Ahmed is the affable founder and CEO of WorldRemit, an online money transfer firm that makes it easy for people to send money to friends and family in different parts of the world, using a computer, smartphone or tablet. It allows money to be received as a bank deposit, cash pick-up, mobile money, or mobile airtime top-up.

The push…

Ismail took the life changing decision to launch his startup in 2010 after becoming frustrated by the ineptitude of the key players in the funds remittance industry. He routinely sent money home to his family from his base in London at a very high cost and little convenience, using the agent model of money transfers. And so, he sought ways to remedy the situation by creating a fast, simple, fairly priced and online means of money transfer.

“The idea for changing the money transfer industry had been in my head for a long time, having experienced the expense and inconvenience firsthand. Years after the internet had revolutionised other industries, such as travel and shopping, this particular financial service remained largely untouched by the financial revolution. I came to realise that the person who was going to make that happen was me.” He tells

Ismail Ahmed

Prior to launching his company, Ismail worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help tackle fraud and compliance issues in the funds remittance industry. He took it upon himself to spot and uncover all forms of corruption in the UNDP Somalia funds Remittance Programme. He supplied information on how corruption could birth more of its kind; thereby marring the system and jeopardizing the future of the people. Ismail had also worked for a World Bank agricultural development project in Hargeisa [capital of Somaliland], which ultimately led to his gaining a World Bank scholarship to study in the UK.

In March 2014, Worldremit received a US$40m funding from Accel Partners and that marked a major turning point for the company as it saw a significant expansion of the range of countries where customers can send money to and from — having grown from 35 send markets at the start of the year to more than 50. The company now offers money, Mobile Money and mobile airtime top-up transfers to more than 110 receiving countries.

Ismail Ahmed

A focused entrepreneur, Ismail understands that every successful person in business is faced with a measure of challenges at some point in their journey, and so he takes his in strides.

The Somali-born London School of Business MBA graduate sees deep into the future. He hopes that the company will expand even more and continue sending a lot more money to mobile devices, in one form or another, most likely to Mobile Money services running on smartphones.

To the young African entrepreneur he leaves a piece, “Be courageous with your ideas and passionate about your business. The opportunities for entrepreneurs in Africa have never been bigger. The explosion of mobile money services is but one example, and you can already see the knock-on effects this is having on companies with the courageous ideas and the right leadership.”

About dealing with investors, he says,

“Honesty at all times. There is no point in trying to exaggerate positive aspects of your business or sugar-coat any shortcomings. Being completely up-front means there will be no surprises further down the line. Also, you may find that your investors are able to help you solve a particular problem — after all, you are seeking their expertise as well as their money.” {}

Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor
Lovelyn Okafor is a Journalist/Writer, Poet, Lawyer and God-Lover. She enjoys a good read and sees everyday as an opportunity to live and enjoy her calling whilst working towards perfecting it. She believes that someday soon, Africa will reach her full potential as the light-bearer of the world. You can find her on Twitter: @lovelyn_o

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