As immigrants studying in Canada, two Rwandan students realized that it was very expensive, slow and ineficient to send money using existing remittance services. They say it required long procedures such as looking for a branch, lineups, filling up forms, was insecure and at times took so long to reach the beneficiaries.
Their friends had similar problems.
Starting September 2014, MERGIMS says it aims to disrupt remittances to East Africa through their website and a mobile application.
MERGIMS (combination of merging markets was started in the summer 2012 but was incorporated in April 2013 by Muhire Louis-Antoine, 32 years, a Canadian University graduate in communications. As the Founder & CIO and in charge of investor relations Muhire has been in Internet business since he was 20 years old. The Rwanda-born entrepreneur left Rwanda after the genocide and has been living in Canada since then.
Him and his friend and co-founder and COO, Gilbert Niyo Mugabo, 31 years, who has been to US and Canadian universities graduated in Logistics, supply chain specialist with extensive experience in business administration.
With 2000 plus followers on social media the platform aims to make it possible for people living in East Africa to have their services paid for by their counterparts in the Diaspora.
“We are bringing this possibility in the hands of the Eastern African diaspora around the world, via a web application (website and mobile application). However, for strategics reasons, at our starting we will be offering our services only in payment of tuition fees, utility bills (water and electricity) and airtime topup.” Muhire told TechMoran.
Mergins is currently listing merchants to its site and mobile app to allow diaspora members purchase gods or services online. The firm also has a secret formula to bring the cost much lower than the 10% minimum charged by Western Union and its lookalikes. The firm’s processes will take 5 minutes instead of 2 hours required in average.
Though they are not the first to do this as Muhire is confident the diaspora needs such services.
“Our costumer base is the Diaspora not local population, even if they can use our system. Also our short term expansion in very specific areas, and of course we have other secret formula that we can not display here :)) thank you for understanding this.”
Mergins recently got nearly $50k to help them stand on toes before they monetize. The firm is looking to raise around $500K.
Accepted into DEMO Africa, MERGIMS says its entering a chapter of raising serious money and believe Demo Africa will give them the great exposure to the right people who can step in and help disrupting the remittance system monopoly.
Before Mergins Muhire started Rekordproductions.com in 2000 for promoting urban artists but shut it down four years later while his co-foundr ran a Laundry Service which he shut when he went to study in Canada.