The Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) has invested $15 million USD Enterprise Fund investment in Mexico City-based Airtm, a blockchain and bank-connected digital wallet and peer-to-peer exchange platform that provides globally-connected dollar accounts to consumers and businesses throughout Latin America, and other emerging markets. The investment marks SDF’s largest Enterprise Fund investment to date and is the fund’s fifth strategic investment made in the 2021 fiscal year.
The investment will enable Airtm to advance development of its robust platform by integrating with Stellar in the coming year, bringing global financial services to businesses and consumers in Latin America and the developing world, while leveraging the most powerful features of the Stellar network to make transactions efficient, secure, and more cost-effective.
“Airtm exists because financial systems throughout the developing world are not aligned with their people’s needs and global aspirations,” said Ruben Galindo Steckel, CEO of Airtm. “With this investment, and our integration with the Stellar network, we will continue to advance on our mission of helping consumers and businesses throughout the developing world access stable money that holds its value, is instant to transfer with no fees, compatible with the global economy, and can be withdrawn as local currency whenever, and wherever it’s needed.”
With fragmented banking networks, Latin America remains a largely cash-based economy. In fact, in 2020 alone, 91% of all transactions in Mexico were still made in cash (LendIt), while the broader Latin American region accounted for just 5% of all global cross-border transactions. However, Latin America is digitizing fast ̶ 13 million Visa cardholders in the region made their first-ever online transaction in 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as an accelerant for digital transformation.
“We’re excited to work with Airtm to further enhance the important work they are doing in Latin America and beyond to solve the last-mile remittance problem, making it faster and more affordable to reach end-users, and expanding equitable access to the global financial system,” said Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of SDF. “With Airtm’s shift to Stellar, we envision a future where Latin America could become one of the fastest-growing regions for global remittances, unleashing a wave of adoption and innovation in peer-to-peer and business digital payments throughout the region.”
SDF’s Enterprise Fund is a venture-style fund for growing the open-source Stellar network globally. So far in 2021, the fund has invested a total of $24.5 million in global fintech or blockchain companies, for a combined total of $33.76 million in investments since its launch in FY20.