SCF #18
Award Completed
Kometpay (II)

The app that helps Latino migrants to better deliver financial support to their families back home by sending money and vouchers.

Awarded
Awarded
Budget request:
$
136,294
*
WebsiteCode

Project Stage

Introduction

Category

Cross-Border Payments
Soroban

Based in

Delaware, USA

Team size

5

Active since

April, 2022
Products & Services

Through our effort and perseverance, combined with the incredible support of SCF, KometPay is now poised to disrupt the cross border payments for migrants between the USA, Canada and Colombia.


We are currently running a closed beta with a few users and iterating their feedback on the basic flow of the application and making sure that all these key processes work as we envision them. As this process goes by, we look to onboard new customers and start testing our market and users assumptions on a larger scale.


The main product we are now testing, and that will soon launch publicly, is a money transfer service, where senders indicate a payment method, the recipient from their contact list and the amount they want to send - we take care of everything in the back end from tying their wallet to their bank account through Plaid, KYC, on-ramping USDC and delivering them directly in the recipient wallet. On the receiving end, we create a custodial wallet for our users where they see reflected the amount of USDC received. At that point they have two options: they can save the money in USDC or withdraw the total or partial amount to a local bank account.


In the near future, we want to expand the options for users mainly on the receiving side, granting an ease in how they can spend their USDC. One option would be offering a Visa Debit card to spend the USDC directly - this will be crucial as we give them an immediate ease in spending their available balance. This feature has proven to be a main driver of user acquisition in the region.


Additionally, by integrating with Moneygram, we can also foster access to a stablecoin-to-cash (and vice versa) feature giving them absolute control and tangibility over their funds. With these three total options - saving or withdrawing to a bank account; debit cards; cash-to-stablecoin access - USDC will be extremely tangible for Latin Americans.


As we are on a quest to turn stablecoin adoption into the mainstream, we want to do so with as many local partners as we can. Moneygram is just the start, but think of enabling Stellar on- and off-ramp services in small shops and other places that make up part of users’ daily activities. This is how we envision our second main feature, the voucher system, to work and we have had - without even a concrete product to show yet on this end - an extremely encouraging traction with local businesses’ chains.

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Previous Project(s)
SCF #10
Award recipient
KometPay
Feel close to home
Learn more
SCF #13
Award recipient
KometPay
The app that helps Latino migrants to better deliver financial support to their families back home by sending money and vouchers.
Learn more
Progress so far

Since we got our last award we have concluded all our deliverables and we have additionally started iterating with a few users in a closed beta, a few weeks ahead of schedule.


To recap, we have:

  1. Completed all the pre-development work necessary to implement our voucher function with a pharmacy chain partner;
  2. Completed the integration with our banking sponsor gaining access to both Canada and the US (all 50 States included) in test environment and we are moving to production phase while we keep testing the rails with MoonPay;
  3. Tested Voucher payments manually with one of our local Colombian partners.


On top of this we have:

  1. Started our closed beta with successful Colombian wallet to Colombian bank transactions (off-ramp);
  2. Modified our legal operation to include Canada in our banking sponsorship;
  3. Started a rebranding process to better cater to our target audience and regions following users’ feedback;
  4. Expanded our advisory board with an ex-Rappi growth lead (specifically on RappiPay, Rappi’s fintech arm), who is working with us on our growth strategy;


We are succeeding in two main goals that we set up at the beginning of the summer: first, to develop a solid product ready to launch publicly at the end of the summer and, second, to start building an amazing team both in terms of talents and investors.

Our first phase of the beta was extremely helpful in getting user feedback and iterating on the first version of the MVP. We worked very closely with Anclap to improve the USDC/XLM - COP off-ramp and our collaboration has yielded extremely positive results that ultimately will benefit any other wallet looking to expand their off-ramp services to Colombia.

Our team now is getting more compartmentalized, and while the main and largest unit remains the tech one, we are starting to solidify our compliance and growth arm. We are doing so by getting people that have already scaled incredibly successful fintech products in the region to ensure quick and steady growth.

Goals
To get there, we request a budget of  
$
136,294
*
  to:
Additional information

Contrary to our initial planning our launch and beta - Q1 ‘23 - was delayed because the partners we were integrating with for the US infrastructure either closed, downsized or scaled back their operations. Our team proved incredibly resilient in not losing morale, keep moving forward and staying committed to our mission.


We are now set with the tools and tech needed to bring our product to latinos and can’t wait to keep working alongside the Stellar’s foundation on revolutionizing cross border payments in the region.

KometPay will serve the Latino community in and out of LatAm. We will initially launch with Colombian migrants in the US, but plan to expand to serve other communities of Latino migrants. The average cost of sending remittances from the US to LatAm is 6-8%. Lowering the cost of transferring money to 3% can save Latinos $4B-$6B, which is estimated currently paid in hidden fees.

Most migrants still use traditional brick and mortar MTOs which, despite guaranteeing a wide access to cash, remains the most expensive solution. KometPay aims to cut the total cost of sending money abroad to 3%, with a transparent breakdown of fees and a true reflection of the exchange rate. Latinos struggle in their home countries and abroad.

In the US, the income of Hispanic households was below the national median and 61% of the income of white households. In their home countries, remittances account for an important source of income, rated at 3% of GDP.

For this reason, it is crucial to offer a service that works for Latino migrant workers and locals. We want to redefine how support is distributed: to create a true network of support that goes beyond sending money. Through KometPay, migrants will find ways to pay for bills, guarantee their families with access to healthcare and education, or buy medicines and groceries.

In Colombia we will also give access to financial tools to the unbanked. From having no access to banking services, they will be able to save in USDC. And our partner network will ensure that they have access to cash withdrawal locations.

Pitch deck
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Deliverables
First Deliverable

Our first deliverable is divided in 2: 1) Offramp in Colombia 2) UX - include KYC flow (US and Colombia) and updated general flow following UX feedback (reset password, OTP verification, add email, pin setup, log in 'remember me' and send/withdraw interface). Regarding 1) Off ramp, we currently have access to Anclap off-ramp, however we need to carry out additional production testing in order to release the product for a public beta. We'll test it in 2 ways: a. Carrying out daily micro-transactions, both standard and also simulating edge cases to make sure that we reach the desired level of performance for our public beta b. keep onboarding users on an invite base only and ask them to perform at least 1 transaction a week and go through the initial onboarding process (KYC). For the deliverable 2) UX (...), we will engage our UX-UI designer to add all the relevant screens for the KYC process and also apply modifications based on users' feedback  to make log-in and basic interfaces easier to go through.

How can a reviewer check you completed your first deliverable?

For "Off ramp" we can either invite whoever from the SDF team or the Stellar Community has a US bank account to test the on ramp experience or a Colombian account to test the off ramp. Alternatively a screen recording of both interactions. For the second one of first deliverables we can add anyone interested in providing feedback to our figma file as we did for the previous submission or share on our application page on Discord the screenshots of the new UX.

Links:
Komet Financial Services Inc.

KometPay offers a cross-border money transmission service and a voucher marketplace. It enables US users to send USDC or USDC-backed vouchers to Colombian users, which they store in a Komet wallet. Our wallet in Colombia is connected to local banking rails, which allows users to withdraw by transferring to their local bank account. Our vouchers will allow Colombian users to spend them in a specific merchant.

Team

Paolo Astone (paoloast#8042)

Co-founder and Co-CEO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/paolo-astone-57317a147/

Paolo graduated with Merit from SOAS University of London, undertaking a BA Politics with a specific focus on the politics and economics of emerging markets – specifically Africa and Latin America. After graduation he worked as a journalist at the Financial Times, covering a variety of FDI related topics, but keeping as the main area of focus developments in tech, LatAm and Africa.


Nicolas Zuleta (nzuleta #0933)

Co-founder and Co-CEO

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolas-zuleta/

Nicolas completed his BSc PPE from the London School of Economics, and has since been a consultant for multinational and Fortune 500 companies doing business in Latin America to mitigate regulatory, financial and political risk. Nicolas has experienced remittances firsthand, understanding the burden as a migrant worker in the UK and having worked at Panama’s largest Western Union agent.


Gerardo Rossler

Back end developer

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gerardo-rossler

r/ArgentinaPrograma student


Luis Verguera

Front end and web developer

https://www.linkedin.com/in/luis-vergera

r/ArgentinaPrograma student


Rodrigo Fernandez

Front end developer

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dev-rodrigo-fernandez/

r/ArgentinaPrograma student


Legal representative (Independent firm)

Attorney – Specialized in De-Fi and Blockchain


Our Team is set up for success because:


As co-founders, we - Nicolas and Paolo - offer a powerful blend of regional and business expertise. Understanding local dynamics, network effects and perception of ‘money’ and ‘value’ is truly necessary to develop a fintech product set up for success and positive impact in the region.

Since day 1 we have been looking to surround us with experienced team members, advisors and investors. While this process is far from over, we have come a long way since we started. Today we are supported by a former twice YC-alumno that has launched and scaled incredible companies in LatAm and by a growth expert, an ex-Rappi growth lead (specifically on RappiPay, Rappi’s fintech arm), who is working with us on our growth strategy.  

All our tech team has been learning about Stellar for as much as they have been learning the traditional tech stack. They have already successfully built solutions and integrated multiple Stellar anchors, including Wyre white label wallet, MoonPay, Stably and Anclap.

KometPay’s development team, Luis, Gerardo and Rodrigo, joined KometPay recently, but their dedication and strive have truly impacted the company, helping us to quickly bring an MVP to market. Having a Latino majority team, we personally understand the barriers to access to financial tools in the region. Our developers started out as students of the r/Argentina Programa, which led by Fabricio Sodano (actively involved with Stellar on several projects), is a program that trains developers on the traditional tech stacks but also on Stellar’s blockchain to set them up as some of the most qualified developers for this specific project.

Our legal counsel is one of the most prominent attorneys in Colombia, with experience on defi and blockchain. With his valuable insight, we have been able to set up an organization with unyielding attention to compliance, setting us up to grow as a true financial services company in LatAm.