There are lots of opportunities to invest out there. Lots of buzz words: A.I., Robotics, Blockchain, and the list goes on. Lots of start-ups have amazing stories, great teams, scalable models – everything you need as an investor.
But how do you differentiate between these opportunities? How do you decide which company to invest in when they are all on the way up?
At PiP iT, we like to think that our difference is that we make a difference.
We are a Social Enterprise. That means we are a for profit business, but we make a positive impact on society, specifically in Financial Inclusion.
PiP iT was established to help the Financially Excluded – those without a bank account or limited banking, known as the unbanked or underbanked – to be able to participate in the ‘Digital World’.
Being excluded from the Digital World can make quite ordinary transactions very expensive. A simple example is if a person can’t set up direct debit utility payments for electricity, water, gas etc., they have to pay a higher rate for the services. Is it fair that the Financially Excluded are paying more for essential services than those with a bank account? We think not.
Today in the UK there are 1.5 million adults who are unbanked or underbanked. Over one million of them are emigrants. It is difficult to open a bank account in a new country – proof of address is required to open a bank account, but a bank account is needed to pay rent. It’s a vicious circle.
For emigrants who don’t have a bank account, the only way to send money home to their family is though cash transfer services. Of the £25billion remitted from the UK to developing nations in 2016, 15% (or £4.25billion) was remitted in cash. And those cash transfers can cost up to 10% of the value of the transaction, which is exorbitantly expensive
We noticed that 30% of money remitted to Developing Nations was used to pay domestic bills and thought, why not pay bills directly instead of remitting the cash?
From that thought, we were on a mission!
We contacted payment platforms around Africa and Asia to see if we could work together. All the platforms we contacted immediately saw the requirement for what we were suggesting.
We built our platform to enable emigrants to pay their family bills in their home country, from their host country, in cash.
It’s simple to use. The consumer logs onto one of our partner platforms (relevant to bills in their home country), selects the bill they want to pay (rent, mortgage, electricity, water, phone, data, school fees, car insurance, health insurance and health services are all integrated) and then select PiP iT as their payment method. They receive a bar code to their phone, which they can bring to any UK Post Office, scan and pay in cash over the counter.
The total fee for this is a maximum of 1.5%.
This is not only a significant saving for the emigrant – up to £8.50 saved on every £100 they pay with PiP iT as opposed to remitting cash, but it is also safer than remitting cash as no one needs to collect cash to pay the bill.
That saving is used by the emigrant to support their own life in the UK or to pay more bills for their family at home.
In the six months since PiP iT went live with our first partner, we have processed £130,000 in bills.
That is a saving of over £11,000 that PiP iT has helped emigrants in UK make when paying their
bills at home.
We have three more platforms going live in coming weeks and six more platforms being integrated. Now, instead of us contacting more platforms, they are coming to us. The last three agreements we signed were with partners who approached PiP iT because they saw the value we offer to their customers.
As I said at the start, we are a for profit business and we have all the metrics that tech companies need to have – we have a great team, we have great tech – but we also have our Social Metric.
For us at PiP iT, that Social Metric is the key motivation. We make a real difference. The more customers we have, the bigger the difference we can make in people’s lives, both in the UK and for their families at home.
Isn’t that a metric to invest in?