We were born with the overarching goal of helping migrant workers shift their remittances from financial transactions to consumer interactions. Today, remittance dynamics are generally based on one-off monthly transactions because of high fixed commissions. At elsa.care, we have removed this barrier since we launched, providing a commission-less turf where users can send as many times as they deem necessary.
Our definition of success is driven by the adoption of our value proposition, meaning a shift in customer behaviour from sending $320 monthly lump-sums to an average of 5x $64 monthly remittance tickets through our platform. Sending smaller tickets empowers migrant workers to take a more active role in their family’s finances, by covering specific expenses as they arise.
In 6 months time, we expect to validate this shift in behaviour through reaching 3,500 monthly transacting users averaging 15,000 transactions and a total volume of +$1M.
Over the next months, we are going to be heads down executing our go-to-market strategy and product and partnership development roadmap, while listening to our customer’s needs and feedback every step of the way.
Scaling our business will require an immediate focus on i) growth and ii) product, while not setting aside the longer term objectives of iii) partnerships and regulation.
Increasing service awareness and trust:
- Testing additional acquisition channels (Youtube, Instagram, Referral, etc);
- Scaling up current proven acquisition channels (Facebook);
- Hosting community and educational events.
Improving our product:
- Deploying bi-monthly product improvements;
- Assessing improvements through analysis of acquisition sprints;
- Launching new categories and merchants.
Laying the foundations to scale
- Setting up partnerships with Anchors in 3x remittance corridors;
- Beginning application for EU Payments Institution license.
Budget Requested: $200,000:
- $65,000 Acquisition support
- $50,000 Product acceleration
- $50,000 Regulation kick-off
- $25,000 Integration with new anchor infrastructure
- $10,000 Community & events support
✅ Launch: Went-live by mid-October 2021 on Beta, and open-market at the beginning of November.
✅ Insurance Commission Approval: The IC of the Philippines approved us as the first platform to allow overseas Filipinos to sponsor their loved ones' insurance products.
✅ Growth Metrics: We currently sit at +2,500 users, +1,500 transactions, and +$40k GMV.
✅ Positive behaviour shift: Breakdown of remittance ticket to 4x monthly transactions with an average ticket of $30 (vs. traditional 1x 300€ monthly money transfer remittance). Also, +30% transactions are direct service purchases.
✅ Top 200 Finance Apps: The App Store positioned us within their Top 200 Finance Apps, in front of direct competitors such as World Remit (with over 5M users).
✅ Stellar Launch: Implemented Stellar-based money transfer service leveraging key infrastructure players in Europe and the Philippines.
✅ Funding: Raised +$800k investment from leading Fintech investors in Europe and the US.
elsa.care was born out of the conviction that there are better ways for migrant workers to channel their care provision to their distant families than the ones currently in place. It is out of this conviction that we have set our mission as a company: to empower migrant workers in their care provision.
The Philippines currently sits at +10 million people living and working overseas, taking care of +40 million nationals back home. In total, they sent +$36bn. throughout 2021, representing nearly 10% of the country’s GDP. On average, each OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) sends $3,000 every year, which amounts to nearly 15% of their earnings. For this reason, back home they’re known as ‘Bagong Bayani’, which translates to National Heroes.
However, taking care of their loved ones doesn’t come without struggles. Month after month, overseas workers go through the same tedious process of standing in line at a money transfer operator, waiting for their turn to send cash to their families. Alternatively, they have to deal with unwelcoming and transactional digital platforms. Also, they see much of their hard earned money vanishing when charged an average of +6.5% commission for their money transfers. These funds are mainly received in cash so migrant workers lose complete control over where these funds are allocated, and oftentimes, this money is misspent.
Currently, supporting someone financially from a distance requires engaging with different models:
- Banks & MTOs: Physical locations allowing for cross-border money transfers between migrant workers and their loved ones.
- Fintechs & Digital MTOs: Digital platforms allowing for cross-border money transfers between migrant workers and their loved ones.
- Service providers: Local service providers allowing migrant workers to purchase their services directly, mainly through online platforms (sometimes with oversea agencies).
- Service Marketplaces: Enabling migrant workers to purchase services for their family members from a distance.
These models, although widely adopted, fail to cover the array of problems associated with cross-border care. To tackle the above mentioned, we designed an experience suited ad-hoc for remitters, which brings remittances closer to a level playing field. This has been accomplished through paying special attention to our three core design principles:
- Optionality: Empowering migrant workers with the choice to provide care in the way they feel is most appropriate.
- Traceability: Providing tools for remitters to better control the allocation of funds.
- Efficiency: Dropping remittance costs down as close to zero as possible.
How is this achieved? We leverage our marketplace-like revenue model to monetise from merchant sales. This way, we are able to offer commission-free remittances at the highest exchange rates in the market. Through this dynamic, we are able to empower migrant workers in their provision of care, not only by granting them a more efficient solution, but also allowing them with choice and the peace of mind associated with knowing the end use of the remitted funds.
Naturally, this advantage through our business model has become the cornerstone of our growth model. Offering best market conditions to a hyper price-elastic customer base not only leads to high retention, but also sets the arena for exponential organic growth. Being able to acquire and activate far cheaper than our competition, leaves us with a clear task at hand: removing impediments for our flywheel.
elsa.care Flywheel - Liquidity Network Effect:
As OFWs are now able to break their remittance lump sum into smaller fractions, they are better able to cover their families needs directly as they arise through more suitable services. As migrant workers send more services, and their loved ones redeem and request more of these, our partners’ revenue will increase, allowing us to have more exclusive products and app promotions as well as more partnerships and new products from existing partners, resulting in lower prices due to increased partner competition, driving more demand for these.
Building a corridor-specific solution and brand has proved to build defensibility on our model. Tailoring our brand and language to a specific audience has performed efficiently when building trust and communicating value to our users. Moreover, it allows us to carry out tactics at every step of the funnel to outpace our competition (more targeted campaigns, better messaging off- and on- app, personalised customer support, ...).
Ever since launch, we have successfully utilised performance marketing to get people to know who we are and what we do. Given the nature of our audience, Overseas Filipinos living and working in Europe, we concentrate most of our efforts on Facebook, a platform over 95% of our target user base utilises monthly to communicate amongst themselves and with their loved ones back home. So far, it has served as a CAC-efficient acquisition tool allowing us to reach our audience and convert at an average cost of under $10, 10x more efficient than our direct competition.
As part of our rollout strategy, we have engaged in events with our audience, helping us grow our community while building trust. In doing so, we have carried out monthly in-person events, ranging from financial literacy events to community sport-team sponsorships and charitable events. We will continue these efforts over the following months and as we expand into new geographies.
Driving this change in remittance behaviour at scale has only been made possible through adopting Stellar’s protocol and its infrastructure. Having first launched on traditional rails impeded the outburst of our flywheel, due to a lack of commission-free and instant-settlement transactions. As soon as the anchor infrastructure was ready to off-ramp in the Philippines, we transitioned our cross-border service to Stellar.
Although our solution is currently built for OFWs in Europe, our product vision lies in building use cases to provide a full-suite ecosystem for migrant workers and their loved ones back home; not only by improving their sending experience, but also through disrupting the way remittances are received, stored, saved and spent.
Stellar Partnerships & Infrastructure:
- EUR Anchor: Tempo (SEPA payments, debit and credit cards)
- PHP Anchor: Arf.one, Cebuana Lhuillier (remit-to-bank, cash pick ups and digital wallets)
Local Service Providers:
- Health Insurance: Insular Healthcare
- Life Insurance: InLife, Sun Life Philippines
- Medicine: Mercury Drug, Generika Drugstore
- Groceries: Puregold, SM, Robinsons, 7Eleven
- Mobile Load: Globe, Smart, PLDT, Sun, TNT,
- Bill Payments: UnionBank of the Philippines