SCF #11
Elsa Wallet: Banking Filipinos

A wallet for Filipinos to receive, spend and earn from their remittances – bringing them closer to their overseas loved ones

Budget request:

Project Stage



Cross-Border Payments

Based in

Madrid, Spain

Team size


Active since

Products & Services is all-in-one platform where Overseas Filipinos and their loved ones can deal with all-things-money: send, receive, hold and earn in a flexible, social and easy way for senders and receivers.


Our app allows overseas Filipino workers to transfer money without fixed fees at the best rates – saving an average 7.5% in fees on their hard earned money.

By removing fees, migrant workers are empowered with the opportunity to send what their families need, when they most need it.

We built a network of +25.000 offramp locations nationwide – covering grocery chains, drugstores, hospitals, clinics, financial institutions and cash networks, as well as utility suppliers including load and data providers, electricity and water billers.


But remittances are naturally a two-way dynamic between migrant workers sending and those receiving funds – currently only served through remittance solutions on the send-side.

+50 million people in the Philippines rely on remittances to make ends meet. More often than not, these people have been left behind by the financial system.

The Receiver App allows distant families to communicate and manage their family finance finances in a one-stop-shop.

Through our wallet, Elsa revolutionizes the off-ramping experience for those whose lifeline depends on cross-border inflows. Allowing recipients to receive and track remittances, hold it in a local currency token – or USDC to hedge inflation – generate a yield on their balance, redeem through our nationwide network, and even earn rewards from our partners.


We aim to onboard non crypto-savvy users to benefit from  Stellar by building non-custodial wallets for the underbanked Filipinos. This project will be the first step towards building an ecosystem of decentralized financial services that empowers 50% of the Philippine adult population to save, spend and even access fair credit and loans.

This wallet serves as the cornerstone of our vision: helping make payments more fair, and the financial system more accessible for +60m Filipinos!

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Previous Project(s)
SCF #10
Award recipient
A better way to care across borders
Learn more
Progress so far

6 months have passed since our submission to #SCF10 – throughout these months, we have been heads down executing on our go-to-market strategy and product and partnership development roadmap, while listening to our customer’s feedback every step of the way.

This has resulted in a smoother product experience, better payment operations, and a more consolidated offering for our users. We’re now excited to be resubmitting to #SCF11 having:

  • Launched V2 of our Remittance App
  • Scaled our service offering with new merchants
  • Integrated a new Philippine Peso (PHP) anchor

Our efforts over the last six months have paid off – and our metrics have grown accordingly:

Monthly Payment Volume:

➡️ $10.9k (May 2022)

↗️ $300k (October 2022)

Monthly On-Chain Transactions:

➡️ 409 (May 2022)

↗️ 2,200 (October 2022)

Total Sign Ups:

➡️ 2,583 (May 2022)

↗️ 10,000 (October 2022)

User Retention:

➡️ 79% (May 2022)

↗️ 90% (October 2022)


Goal 1 - Launch the Elsa Wallet:

We aim to launch the first remittance wallet for receivers in the Philippines – servicing +50 million Filipinos – utilizing the stablecoin infrastructure laid out on Stellar rails.

For this, we are building the infrastructure to deliver non-custodial wallets for every user to receive and earn from their remittance inflows. The Elsa Wallet will set the turf for building an ecosystem of financial services (spending, saving and borrowing) for those currently left behind by the financial system.

Key results (June 2023):

  • Number of wallets: 1.000
  • Total locked-up value: $100.000

Goal 2 - Scale our remittance operations:

Our app launched on Stellar rails just under 6 months ago, and ever since we have grown our remittance operations +80% month-on-month to where we sit today – with +$300k in monthly volume.

The next six months will serve to consolidate our growth in remittance operations in Europe, while preparing to scale our solution to new Filipino corridors (USD, CAD, GBP, …).

Key results (June 2023):

  • Monthly Payments Volume: $10M.
  • On-chain Transactions: 125.000 trx.
  • Monthly Active Users:  20.000 users.
To get there, we request a budget of  

Scale our remittance operations:

  • Acquire our proprietary Money Transfer Operator license in the EU: adding flexibility and scalability to our remittance operations.
  • Expand our pay-in methods: new credit card schemes, bank-to-bank pay-ins (SEPA transfers), and cash deposits through cash-in networks.
  • Add new payout methods in the Philippines: more bank payouts and cash pick up locations.

Launch the Elsa Wallet:

  • Acquire our proprietary Virtual Asset Service Provider license in the Philippines: Setting up the regulatory turf for wallet launch, and on- and off- operations. ($20.000)

  • Develop the wallet infrastructure: Build our solution with wallet functionalities such as account creation, key storage, queries and transaction signing to the Stellar database. ($45.000)
  • Build the partnership infrastructure and integrate solutions: consolidate partnership with PHP anchor, create PHP yield-bearing product, integrate USDC savings and USD yield-bearing product, and seek loans / credit partners operating in the Philippines. ($10.000)
  • Grow our merchant network: grocery stores, drugstores, restaurants and gift shops, hospitals and clinics, mobile load and data providers, and billers. ($10.000)

Take to market our recipient wallet:

  • Carry-out a launch campaign: Leverage our current user database from senders and receivers to notify Filipino remittance recipients, and build an early user base. ($10.000)
Additional information


Remittances serve as a lifeline for 40% of the adult population in the Philippines –

Remittance flows are cross-border payments generated by migrant workers when sending home part of their earnings in the form of either cash or goods to support their families.

There are currently +10M. Filipinos living and working overseas, sending in total +$36bn. throughout 2021 to take care of their loved ones back home. On average, each Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) sends $3,000 per year, which amounts to nearly 15% of their earnings.

These inflows represent a lifeline for +40 million people living in the Philippines, and a large chunk of the country's economy – approximately 10% of the country’s GDP. Cross-border payments to the Philippines have consistently increased throughout the last 25 years, and are expected to continue this trend throughout the next decade.

While sending has become more efficient, the reception of these funds remains archaic:

  • Hard earned money goes down the drain, as receptors see +7% of this vanish in hefty fixed commissions upon sending and receiving – directly impacting their main source of income.
  • Needs are immediate and unpredictable, while cross-border payments are not – oftentimes, the time-to-money for receptors can go as long as 48 hours.
  • 50%+ of cross-border payments are collected in-cash at remittance centres, as remittance receptors are neglected access to bank accounts – causing security and inefficiency issues.
  • Financially unprepared for uncertain future events – recipients are unable to access checking accounts, earn from their savings, prepare for emergencies through financial or insurance products, and access fair credit options.


The competitive landscape is broken between sender-solutions and receiver-locations.

The remittance field lacks players serving the end-to-end relationship between senders and receivers, and this leads to higher fees, delays in time-to-money and broken information.

Sender-side providers:

Retail Banks & Money Transfer Operators (MTOs):

Physical locations allowing for cross-border money transfers between migrant workers and their loved ones.

(–) High fixed commissions

(–) Slow time-to-money

Fintechs & Digital MTOs:

Platforms allowing migrant workers to send cross-border money transfers to their loved ones.

(+) Low fixed commissions

(–) High FX fees

Receiver-side providers:

Pawnshops & Cash Networks:

Physical locations allowing cash pick-ups from cross-border money transfers.

(–) Insecure delivery method

(–) Working hours only

Fintechs & Neobanks:

Digital platforms, typically e-wallets, allowing remittance reception, holding balance on account and spending capabilities (cards and QRs)

(+) Smooth cash-in operations

(–) Tedious account creation and KYC

Traditional Banks:

Traditional commercial banks allowing remittance reception and all other banking capabilities.

(–) Slow time-to-money

(–) Tedious account creation and KYC

(–) High account fees

Service providers:

Local service providers allowing migrant workers to purchase their services directly, mainly through online platforms (sometimes with oversea agencies).

(–) Unbundled

(–) High off-ramping fees

Shift in consumer expectations and tech advancements lay the base for disruption:

For years now, traditional finance providers have adopted business models laying the burden on the weakest link: migrant workers and remittance receptors. However, this paradigm can now be challenged due to several industry characteristics that have evolved over recent times:

  • Consumer demand: Users expect free and real-time settlements in P2P payments – the same level of service they get when carrying out intra-border payments.
  • Technological advancements: Decentralised finance, and especially stablecoin infrastructure, has disrupted artificial market barriers such as SWIFT.
  • Digital adoption: The hard close of remittance centres during Covid has vastly catalysed adoption of digital solutions, with more nimble cost structures.

The remittance industry is now ripe for disruption, and new business models removing the burden of transaction costs from the end user will emerge in the current market context.


Transforming a one-sided industry into an ecosystem where all participants benefit:

Our revenue model is based of a marketplace-like dynamic to monetise from merchant sales. We count on numerous partnerships with local merchants and service providers in the Philippines through whom we generate fees on a per-transaction basis.

This is beneficial for senders as we provide transparency on the use of the funds, and for receivers who generate cash back upon reception of services – and allows us to remove the hefty fees (5-10%) from cross-border transactions, while offering highest exchange rates in the market.


Exchange rate spread: 2%

Merchant fees: 3-10%


Yield fees: 1-2%

Full Wallet:

Card / QR IC++: 0.5%

Loans / Credit: 5-10% p.a.


Leveraging network effects to grow organically, while forging our supply-side offering:

Our growth strategy lies on the hypothesis that our product and business model dynamics are 10x better – and hence, we are able to acquire (5x cheaper) and retain customers (90% month-on-month) better than competitors, leading to a sustainable payback period.

Two-sided Flywheel:

We lay our core strength on a two-sided network effect where the more remittance senders we activate, the more recipients that download our wallet to receive and earn, and the more receiving users we have who benefit from this dynamic, the more they will invite other remittance senders to send through our platform – increasing their cash back earnings. This will result in more paying merchants that will want to offer their services through our marketplace to a larger customer base.

As such, we focus on developing marketing tactics that increase awareness on our value proposition, with the ultimate goal of driving a high percentage of organic growth. It is in this spirit, and based on four pillars that set us apart, that we intend to drive this growth:

  • Commission-free remittances: We offer unmatched cross-border payment conditions to hyper price elastic customers.
  • Corridor-specific solution: Tailored brand and language to our audience has performed efficiently in building trust and communicating value.
  • Target a close-knit community: As a mono-corridor solution, we’re able to play an active role in their community online and offline, to drive higher virality.
  • Partner marketing: Leverage partner brands to allow for added trust, higher excitement and cheaper performance campaigns.


Building an offering by partnering with i) cutting-edge Stellar based infrastructure providers, and ii) a wide array of highly-adopted local service providers:

Stellar Partnerships:

  • EUR Stablecoin & Pay-in: Tempo (SEPA payments, debit and credit cards)
  • PHP Stablecoin & Pay-out: Cebuana Lhuillier (remit-to-bank, cash pick up and wallets)
  • Settlement Platform: (working capital and settlement services)

Post-SCF Stellar Partnerships:

  • USD Stablecoin: Circle
  • USD Yield: UltraStellar
  • PHP Yield: PDAX
  • CAD Stablecoin: Stablecorp
  • Borrowing: Tala, Pluto Loans

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, …
  • Restaurants: Jollibee, Red Ribbon, Chooks-to-go
  • Bill Payments: UnionBank of the Philippines
Pitch deck
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First Deliverable
ELSA CARE is a Fintech super-app improving the life of Filipinos. Overseas Filipinos get more from their hard-earned money by sending remittances at the best rates, commission-free and have the freedom to choose the best care-option, while receivers get more money, instantly, to spend or make the most out of it through yields and rewards. The SCF will bring us one step closer to making cross-border payments more fair, and the financial system more accessible for +60M Filipinos.




Prior to building Nacho worked at 4AM, a corporate venture builder, helping multinationals and SMEs launch their innovation strategy and executing it via ventures. Previous to that, he advised multinational companies at EY and PwC.


Discord - ignaciojdlm#2242


Growth & Marketing

After having taken Home Made, a hyper-growth startup, from pre-seed to Series A, Alessandro joined to provide with his expertise in Growth and Product.


Discord - amc🇮🇹#1238


CTO & Backend

Javier has experience in a wide range of technologies, designing and developing high scalable solutions. He is mainly focused on backend and embedded systems development, as well as database design and cloud computing expert.

Discord - jcaballero#8816



Having served as Product Manager and Business Designer at 4AM, Teresa has experience in the design and implementation of value proposition, product strategy and product roadmap throughout the full product life cycle.


Discord - teresa.bas#9694


Android Developer

Miguel has experience in the full-stack development of solutions in coordination with design and product. Miguel is focused on both graphic and VUI interface solutions.


Growth & Marketing

Alvaro has previous experience at the intersection of Payments, Finance and Marketing, having served Global Payments Inc in both their sales and M&A team.


Discord - alvarome#6270


iOS Developer

Manuel has vast experience as a Software Architect for Mobile Apps. He has managed and developed a telecommunication service provider App in 6 different countries.




Luis previously founded a B2B startup focused on building software solutions for Real Estate brokers and funds. His previous company attended the Techstars Proptech accelerator in Toronto (2019 autumn cohort).