A former chief executive of Paddy Power Betfair is to become the new boss of WorldRemit, one of Britain’s fastest-growing and most valuable financial technology companies.
Sky News has learnt that Breon Corcoran will be named this week as WorldRemit’s new chief as it nears the status of becoming the UK’s latest technology “unicorn” – a start-up worth at least $1bn (£764m).
Mr Corcoran, who played a key role in the 2015 merger of Paddy Power and Betfair Group, left the combined company within the last year.
He currently sits on the board of Tilney Group, the financial planning and advisory group, as a non-executive director.
A former JPMorgan banker, Mr Corcoran’s role at WorldRemit – which dubs itself “the WhatsApp of money” – will be to continue its global expansion at a time of growing competition in the international money remittance market.
Established in 2009, the company has established partnerships with an array of international banks, mobile network operators and money transfer networks.
Like many start-ups, it is loss-making well into its first decade of existence but is likely to break even in 2019.
WorldRemit was set up by Ismail Ahmed, who while studying in London was forced to travel across the capital to find an agent who would transfer money back to his family in an Ethiopian refugee camp.
He launched the business after becoming frustrated by the cost and inconvenience of the experience, since when it has grown to serve more than 800,000 customers in more than 50 countries.
Mr Ahmed’s company competes with traditional players such as Western Union and MoneyGram, as well as a new breed of fintech rivals which include Transferwise.
Currently WorldRemit’s chief executive, Mr Ahmed is expected to become its chairman following Mr Corcoran’s arrival.
WorldRemit counts big names from the venture capital sector such as Accel Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures, which have backed the likes of Facebook, Netflix and Spotify, among its investors.
It last raised funds in late 2017 in a $40m (£30.5m) round led by LeapFrog Investments.
Earlier this month, it announced the launch of online bank transfers to nine African countries including Botswana, Chad, Mozambique and Zambia.
WorldRemit said that transactions to Africa using its service had grown by 75% this year, with overall remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa increasing by 11% to $38bn (£29m) last year, according to the World Bank.
The company became Arsenal FC’s first online money transfer partner last year in an attempt to raise its profile.
It has also expanded into the US, gaining a licence in Nevada this year which meant it became authorised to send money on behalf of American customers in every state.