Every year, millions of migrants send more than $550 billion back home in order to support their families and pay for essential tasks. Being far away from home, they rely heavily on friends, extended family or even unknown vendors to make the right decisions for them. Yet a lot of people are unaware that it's all-too-common for that money to be misused or, worse, for funds to be sent to vendors in the migrant's home country who then delays fulfillment and provide poor service levels. The pain is real and causes lots of misery and financial loss to migrants.
Traditionally, companies that have focused their operations on migrant communities have striven to make it easier for migrants to send remittances home. While it is simpler, even now, the cost for sending a remittance back home can be 4% - 8% of total amount. However, money transfers aren't enough - they're just transactions and don't ensure fulfilment. A new ecosystem is emerging in this traditional segment and we expect this space to get hot soon.
A new startup - InstaKin - funded by the world renowned Y Combinator Fund is betting on a new future. Migrants don't have to send money back home blindly hoping that things will be done. Rather, it provides a solution to help migrants to pay for direct fulfilment.
Created to solve the TRUST problem that migrants face when managing and paying for tasks back home, InstaKin has implemented a very clever strategy to provide access to migrants. It is a solution that has been designed to help immigrants purchase services and goods for their loved ones back home without having to rely on others.
Tyler Norwood - A Venture Partner at Antler USA that is also an investor in InstaKin said that they are very keen to support InstaKin as it solves a real-life problem. As someone who has himself lived abroad for 6 years, Tyler knew only too well the problems that InstaKin can solve even for expats who are far away from home. As a result, Antler strongly believes in the InstaKin platform that it will provide migrants with much-needed access to trusted and reliable vendors back home that they so badly need.
The company was founded by Yasir Shirazi who launched the platform after recognizing the problems that he was facing while trying to manage tasks in his home country. As a 1st-generation immigrant from Pakistan now living abroad, he knew first-hand that delays and lack of direct access to vendors back home created real life problems. He decided to establish his own solution that would change the way in which the remittance sector operates by democratizing access to services back home for migrants.
As Shirazi points out, any migrant can understand the magnitude of the remittance problem and the solution is connecting migrants with last-mile vendors via a secure payment platform. Zain Khan at InstaKin believes that in the long term, InstaKin will embed itself as a key element of every migrant's every day life, playing a key role in the way that they handle their finances in both their native country and their new home nation. According to Kirshan, InstaKin has already been able to assist thousands of migrants with managing last-mile tasks, fulfilling a significant need which has only been accelerated by travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
It's clear that InstaKin's services are an exciting and innovative alternative when compared to the existing money transfer services available today. Not only does it integrate the transactional features that are typically found at a traditional money transfer service, but it also combines those features with the benefits of being able to directly access operational logistics for service providers and last-mile vendors at home.
A single platform can be scaled across borders through the unification of last-mile commerce and by placing a strong focus on high-quality fulfilment. This is where InstaKin can fill the gap in the marketplace, but ensuring that migrants using its services can be confident of secure payment, reliable transfers and direct access to high-quality vendors back home. The startup, which has been available to Pakistani migrants since its launch, also announced it expects to expand to other South Asian migrant communities by the end of the year.
The InstaKin app can be downloaded from the iOS or Android stores. Currently, it is providing fulfillment across Pakistan.