Tag Archives: money transfers

Starting a Latino Venture: A Founder’s Story

23 Dec

Have you ever had a burning desire to be your own boss?

Edrizio De La Cruz, a recent MBA graduate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, founded Regalii and leads the UPenn team working on it. For Edrizio, It’s a personal mission. “I grew up in the Dominican Republic,” Says Edrizio, “and immigrated to New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, which was probably 110 percent Dominican. But I went to high school in Queens, where I used to play basketball with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and Salvadorians. I quickly assimilated to each subculture. But my social circle was pretty homogeneous. Almost everyone around me was an immigrant. So I assumed that only immigrants sent money or remained connected to family in Latin America.”

While at Wharton, Edrizio realized that wasn’t the case. He said: “At UPenn, I must have met over 100 Latinos, in every shape and form. Some immigrants, some native. From affluent backgrounds and very humble backgrounds. No matter what, the majority remained connected to their culture and family in Latin America.” In talking to other Latinos, Edrizio noticed how frustrating, archaic and anti-social sending money abroad is. “Its like going to the DMV to pay alimony. You wait on long lines and don’t really look forward to it”.  That frustration kindled the fire that sparked Regalii.

Revolutionizing Money Transfers to Mexico

6 Dec

REMITTANCES comprises the economic lifeblood of most Latin American economies.  Like most of the 31 million Mexicans in the U.S., Rosa Cruz must regularly send money to loved ones in Saltillo using Western Union.  Rosa is not alone, according to Columbia University over 60% of Hispanic adults transfer money to family abroad, also called remittances. However, the process is a pain: You pay extortionate fees, wait on long lines, and are responsible for notifying the recipients yourself.

A new company called Regalii plans to heal that pain. The company plans to offer a free and instant mobile-money transfers via Regalii.com. Free? Instant? Both could completely revolutionize remittances. Rather than sending cash, Regalii allows you to send gift cards via SMS for supermarkets and stores in Mexico. Now when Rosa sends money for groceries to her sister Virginia in Saltillo, she can go to Regalii.com, select recipient, choose the store, and then Virginia receives a text message with an electronic code, which can be redeemed at the selected supermarket in Mexico.  It works just like a coupon. Regalii integrates Facebook profiles, so you can even choose the gift recipient and invite other friends or family members to chip in for the cost of the gift. It is the first and only form of money transfer that’s free, instant and fun!

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