Round 11
Winner
Manilla

Offers immigrants in Canada an alternative to make and receive payments across borders.

Budget request:  
$50,000
*
WebsiteCode

Project Stage

Research

Category

Cross-Border Payments

Based in

Canada and Nigeria

Team size

3

Active since

2020
Products & Services

Manilla is a Web3 mobile payment application. The app seeks to  solve the problem of financial isolation which subjected many immigrants (especially international students)  in Canada to untold risks including money laundering, unfair charges and unfavourable foreign exchange rates. Manilla seeks to solve this problem at the initial stages for International students from India and Nigeria who attend post-secondary schools in Canada.


How it works with Stellar

Manilla is a mobile app that allows users to send money across international borders and to be received by the receiver in their local currency. Manilla uses the Stellar blockchain to achieve this.


The key differentiators of the Manilla app from others is summarised in the following:

  • Manilla will be based on the Stellar Blockchain.
  • Manilla will build an app that issues each user a stellar blockchain address.
  • Manilla will create stellar anchors for designated currencies.
  • Manilla will use third party tokens as the liquidity provider for these anchors.
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Previous Project(s)
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Progress so far
Goals
  1. To build the mobile application for beta testing within 90 days of grant receipt.
  2. To complete our first live transaction within 120 days of the grant receipt.
  3. To have amassed a float of C$250,000 by December 1, 2022 from the Black Entrepreneur Fund to underwrite transactions as a Stellar Anchor.
To get there, we  will use our requested budget of  
$50,000
*
  to:
  • Hire a back end developer for a 90-day development  period.
  • Hire a front end engineer for a 90-day development  period
  • Hire a Scrum master for a 90-day development  period
  • Hire a UX designer to execute and or modify the sequence  of the Manilla Wireframe.
  • Assign and incentivize Product Owners to handle the three broad aspects of the development through the Scrum master with weekly progress monitoring to ensure quality assurance.
Overview

Revenue Model

At the start of our operations we intend to charge a 0.25% processing fee on both ends for our P2P service and a 0.5% fee for payments we handle for users.


Project sustainability

We intend to keep the project running through the networks that we currently have, signed on. Being a member of Lakehead Ingenuity, the Incubator at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario we will onboard nearly 2,000 users within the first month of launch and from there proceed to scale our project. The core of this plan would entail collaborating with that university community through a partnership arrangement that would allow us to test micropayments to and from Canada, Nigeria and India within the first three months to hone in on our process.


Future cash flow plans

Our future pricing plan is to tier our service against a subscription model that allows for the exercise of enhanced due diligence and layered KYC regimes as might be required by the regulators for bulkier transactions. This subscription model, though anticipatory, targets a C$250 yearly subscription for up to C$100,000 in transaction volume per customer.


Financial Plan

Snapshot of the Financial Plan is included in the images section.

  • Revenue: $1million (in Year 1)
  • Operating Income: $0.5m (in Year 1)


Other Funding Sources

Manilla is currently in the process of securing a 5-year interest free Government intervention Fund of about C$250,000. The money will be placed in an interest-bearing escrow for the sole purpose of underwriting all off-ramp conversions  between fiat and XLM.


Market and Industry Research

Industry: The cross-border payments industry is maturing very quickly. Companies in the space offer a homogenous range of financial services tweaking fees and exchange rates to remain attractive. However, with the advent of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the industry is set to experience serious disruption via DeFi. As of yet, much of the service is targeted at the retail space with massive upsides for products in the wealth management, SMEs, Mid-sized and Global Corporates spaces.


The Problem:

  1. Unfavourable exchange rates due to arbitrary profiteering
  2. Monthly caps on access to FX of payment platforms
  3. Exorbitant transaction fees


Market Cap: According to the Global Partnership on Financial Inclusion, Canada recorded drops in outflows ($6.5 billion) and inflows ($0.9 billion) in 2020


Threats / Competitors:

There are four major companies contending for market share within our niche of Indian and Nigerian immigrants in Canada. Remitly, Lemonade Finance, Western Union and Thomas Cook. While several others make up the balance of the contestable market, the aforementioned companies maintain a fair hold on 82% of the disruptible market for cross-border payments to and from India and Nigeria for immigrants in Canada.


Strengths and Weaknesses

Major strengths of large competitors lie in the economies of scale given by their eclectic spread of cash balances in different currencies across their countries of operation. The large pool of funds allow these companies to offer faster foreign exchange processing even though the pricing is often not reflective of fair value to customers.


Since WU, Remilty, Lemonade and Thomas Cook depend on critical mass on the online frontier, our imperative is to focus on user experience and the enhancement of fund security to sway the market in favour of Manilla.


In a sense, and on the offline front, local money transfer shops are the real competition because of the close relationships that these shops build with clients while charging them higher. And as we see a return to in-person business interaction, following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, Manilla seeks to match and even better the trust factor that these local money transfer shops enjoy through our product iterations that enhance the client experience through the incorporation of AI models that increasingly comprehend user behaviour.


Our Solution and why it is better

Manilla envisions a deep tech product run on the Stellar Network to deliver our core  value propositions of:

  1. Reduced transaction costs and no arbitrary fees
  2. On-demand foreign exchange availability
  3. Faster, time efficient payment processing


Our product also incorporates an e-KYC software that ensures  compliance with regulatory guidelines as stipulated by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada  (FINTRAC) under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering)  and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA).


Partnerships

On the Stellar Network

Manilla is open to partnerships if the business case supports it in terms of the dependability of Anchors in our chosen areas of operation, particularly, if they help us provide our clients with superior service. However, if the business case supports that we maintain own anchor to ensure client satisfaction, then it is a cause we intend to follow.


Partnerships off the Stellar Network

We maintain partnerships with the following:

  • Parkdale Centre for Innovation (Business training)
  • Lakehead Ingenuity (Office space and initial market access)
  • Kama AI (Mentorship and Interactive AI API support)


Marketing and Sales

While we will engage in social media marketing, our sales efforts would largely be organic and word-of-mouth focused.

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Regentrust Inc

Regentrust is a company incorporated in 2020 to address the problem of financial isolation experienced by international students and migrant workers in Canada at the early parts of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic. Operating as Manilla, the company seeks to develop a revolutionary mobile application that would allow BIPOC immigrants in Canada to resolve international payment challenges in a timely, risk-free and cost-effective way.

Team

Nehi #0702

Co-Founder

Nehi is a serial entrepreneur with  15 years of experience in finance, deal structuring, fundraising and international trade. Currently a graduate student in the Department of Social Justices Studies at Lakehead University, Nehi oversees finance and investor relations at Manilla.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/nehi-igbinijesu-096250145


Austin.Otsu #8778

Co-Founder

Austin is a banker with over 15 years of experience in the most dynamic, compliant & advanced financial landscapes in Nigeria and Canada. Austin oversees regulatory compliance for the team.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/regentrust


Scar #2897

Product Owner

Ugo is a product development specialist with 15 years of experience building and working with startups, with one achieving $4 million annual revenue in 4 years with no external funding.


He has operated as a Technical lead across a broad range of technology organisations spanning e-commerce, banking & financial services, shipping & logistics and trading platforms.


He bring his software engineering background and experience in building products, growing & managing teams while forging partnerships and winning over customers to Manilla.