Pomelo, which combines credit and international credit and international money transfer, has netted $5m in seed funding to support the launch of its services.
It claims its technology will enable users to build credit whilst sending money to family overseas without any fees.
Some of the investors include solo capitalist Josh Buckley, Xfund, Afore Capital and Abel Tesfaye, known professionally as The Weeknd.
Pomelo’s founder and CEO Eric Velasquez Frenkiel said, “Pomelo is on a mission to make the American Dream more attainable for U.S. immigrants, while providing financial stability for their families back at home.” While the annual outflow of remittance from the US to counties like the Philippines and India, there are few safe and cost-effective options to send money, he continued.
The FinTech provides customers with a card that is powered by the Mastercard network and issued by Coastal Community Bank. Alongside this, users can access a mobile application through Android and iOS devices.
US citizens and permanent residents 18 years and older, will be able to use a Pomelo card, while families around the world will then be able to join a family plan. Customers get real-time exchange rates for each purchase made with the Pomelo Card.
Frenkiel said, “Establishing credit is critical to financial wellness in the US, but it is often challenging for newly established citizens.
“Even when financial activity is conducted responsibly, individuals remain credit invisible unless the activity is reported to a U.S. credit bureau. This can severely limit opportunity to build wealth and economic security for a group of people already effectively supporting themselves and their families abroad. We plan to recognize and reward them.”
For users with low or no credit, the platform will allow them to deposit funds they would normally remit and be issued a secured credit line that will help them begin to build credit.
Tesfaye said, “As the son of Ethiopian immigrants, I am encouraged by the impact Pomelo is making. They’re empowering members of the immigrant community and their families back home to gain true financial security.”
Customers can sign up and reserve their card ahead of the product launch, which is scheduled for later this year. Initially, card holders will be able to send money from the US to the Philippines, with India and Mexico to follow.
Frenkiel has a strong history of building companies. Prior to Pomelo, he co-founded NewSQL database Singlestore, which is now valued at more than $1bn.
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