Why we invested: Tulix is enhancing collaboration between African migrants and their beneficiaries back home
One in seven people around the world either send or receive international remittances. Migrants use them as an essential instrument for helping their communities back home.
In Africa, in 2021 alone, remittances sent to and within the continent represented around US$ 95 billion, involving more than 200 million family members in the process. This money is a lifeline for many households, with a high potential to drive development impact on the continent.
Furthermore, migration flows to Africa are expected to increase significantly, driven by factors such as income gaps and climate change impacts. For that reason, improving how remittances are managed and how they can be used for lasting benefit can be a game-changer for many households on the continent.
Tulix was built to empower Africa’s diaspora and remittance-receiving households by enabling them to allocate funds for specific needs. This innovative startup allows senders to be directly involved in their home country’s life while abroad and aid receivers in spending money wisely.
Diaspora members remit money to Kenya for many different reasons: from supporting their families at home to purchasing food and household goods to medical and education expenses. Tulix’s innovative solution allows them to manage all these different spending needs from just one digital wallet and make direct payments to local businesses instantly from anywhere in the world and directly using mobile money.
While several operators in the remittances space offer fast and affordable transactions from abroad to Kenya, none provide complete transparency or control over how the beneficiaries use these remittances. Tulix provides this value by allowing senders to see, co-determine with the recipients, or determine directly how funds will be spent, thereby increasing accountability and transparency to unlock the full potential of remittances.
Tulix offers value to both senders and receivers. The startup allows users everywhere to create supplementary wallets called “jars” in the wallet. Jars allow for collaborative budgeting, increased visibility, and better labeling and tracking of funds. These jars can also be used for goal-based savings, which help to improve the financial health of households.
While still in Beta mode, Tulix has successfully enabled thousands of transactions for early adopters.
A strong positive correlation exists between remittances and financial development variables: higher remittances potentially encourage opening bank accounts, enhance savings, and influence credit allocation. This goes one step further in promoting higher financial depth and inclusion. Furthermore, these cross-border transactions help the beneficiaries to access better health facilities, have better education, increase financial access, and fight against poverty.
Remittances in Kenya hit an all-time high amount of US$ 3.7 billion during 2021. Furthermore, greater financial innovation will lead to a rise in money inflows to the country, suggesting a growing addressable market for Tulix.
Financial inclusion levels in the country rank among the highest in Africa, with a high prevalence of mobile wallets. Still, there is an opportunity to increase linkages between transfers and financial services so as to increase benefits for recipients. Tulix was developed to use international remittances as an entry point for such value addition, creating a last-mile tool for the senders to be directly involved in the life of their hometown.
In the medium term, Tulix’s objective is to expand its operations in Africa, where 25 percent of people send or receive international remittances. Africa is the continent where remittances could be maximized to a greater extent. The startup’s platform is prepared for this challenge, supporting millions of people to address their development opportunities.
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- Impact: Catalyst Fund startups deliver (or, in the case of B2B firms, facilitate the delivery) of life-changing products and services to underserved populations. These can include financial services like loans, savings, insurance, and investment, but also access to productive inputs or essential services such as energy, sanitation, and water.
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