These 10 People Are Revolutionizing How We Send Money - Regalii

These 10 People Are Revolutionizing How We Send Money

Posted on May 4, 2015 by Manuela Silvestre

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The money transfer business is growing every single day. Global remittances topped $500 billion last year, and the World Bank estimates this number to reach $636 billion in 2017.

At Regalii we know there are people behind these numbers, coming up with creative ways to get money to our loved ones around the world. We’ve identified 10 people who are shaping the way we send money. Whether they’re used to being in the public eye, or remain anonymous, we dug up some info on these impressive leaders in order to pay tribute to their hard work.

1. Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, CEO of IMTC

With 25 years in the business, Hugo Cuevas-Mohr is a money transfer expert. He’s a widely sought-after consultant who shares his wealth of knowledge by regularly giving lectures at major international payment conferences, seminars, and events.

Mohr is currently the President and CEO of Mohr World Consulting, based in Miami. He is also the director of International Money Transfer Conferences (IMTC), which aims to bring people in finance together and promote dialogue across different sectors of the industry.

Mohr has been in the remittance industry since the very beginning. He was hired by TITAN in 1987 to implement a software/hardware solution and ended up growing the business into one of the largest money transfer companies in Latin America. After selling TITAN in 2007, he shifted his focus to consulting.

And he’s a poet, which is rare in this business! Mohr gives back by directing a non-profit poetry foundation.

2. Hikmet Ersek, CEO of Western-Union

As the President and CEO of Western Union since 2010, Hikmet Ersek is one of the most powerful people in remittances. He’s a Fortune 500-ranked global leader, which means his decisions have a big influence on cross-border money transfer services. That’s why he’s frequently featured in the media speaking on economic and social topics like globalization, migration, transformation and digital payments, and why he’s a recurring speaker at the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative. At Davos this year, he identified mobility, growth, opportunity, and education as the key themes the industry needs to address this year.

Ersek has both grown and diversified WU, adding more than 500,000 agent locations, expanding into electronic and mobile channels, adding business payments, and broadening financial services. He joined WU in 1999, worked several international roles, then became COO before CEO. Before that, he worked for Europay/Mastercard and GE.

We think he’s great because he’s identified “multicultural competency” as the most important asset of a potential employee. And according to a profile on The Huffington Post, Ersek cares about his employees’ happiness; he’s a big believer in the “work hard, play hard” mentality.

Ersek has received several awards, such as The Opening Minds Corporate Leadership Award from the Institute of International Education and the 2012 Responsible CEO of the Year Award from Corporate Responsibility magazine. He also gives back by serving on the Board of Directors for Teach for All.

3. Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO of SWIFT

Leibbrandt became CEO of SWIFT in July 2012. SWIFT provides a network that enables communication about financial transactions between financial institutions around the world. Most international interbank messages are sent on the SWIFT network- that’s 15 million messages a day across 9,000 financial institutions in 209 countries and territories.

SWIFT is so influential, it’s become the industry’s most common syntax in financial messages.

The company sets the world’s standards for message format and content. As the CEO, Leibbrandt has a lot of influence in the industry. Banks and financial institutions worldwide rely on his company for a secure way to speak to each other.

He came to SWIFT from McKinsey & Company, where he worked for 18 years. He joined SWIFT in 2005 to help develop the SWIFT2010 strategy, starting out as Head of Standards and eventually he was promoted to Head of Marketing. Leibbrandt was a key architect in SWIFT2015, the strategy currently being implemented and the focus of the company to this day.

4. Anil Aggarwal, Founder of Money 20/20

Anil Aggarwal is the founder and Chairman of Money 20/20, the world’s largest conference and trade show dedicated to innovation in payments and financial services. As Chairman of the event, Aggarwal gets to decide which topics will be covered each year, directing the conversation for the 10,000 people that attend- including 1,000 CEOS from 3,000 companies and 75 countries.

Aggarwal has been in payments and financial services for over 15 years. He was the Global Head of Business Development for Google Wallet. Before that, he was the Chairman and CEO of TxVia, a processing technology company that was later acquired. He also founded and led Clarity Payment Solutions (acquired by TSYS), Prepaid Media (acquired by Informa and which created Prepaid Expo and Paybefore) and the Network Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) trade group. Aggarwal is also a Venture Partner at a $500m venture growth equity fund, Oak HC/FT. Plus, he’s a pro fundraiser; he’s has raised more than $75 million for several ventures.

5. Michael Brown, Euronet Worldwide, Inc. CEO

Michael Brown has been the Chairman, CEO and President of Euronet since he co-founded it in 1994. Brown is a hands-on CEO, actively involved in daily operations and directly overseeing the company’s business strategy, performance and growth.

Euronet has a hand in every aspect of the financial industry: POS, ATMs, electronic services, prepaid services, and cross-border money transfer and bill payments. Since they cater to all levels- financial institutions, retailers, service providers and individual consumers- Euronet is growing fast and reaching millions.

Brown has 30 years of experience in computer software and electronic payments. He founded Innovative Software in 1979, which merged with Informix in 1988 (a leading provider of advanced database software technology). While he was President and CEO there, annual revenues grew from $70 to $170 million. In 1993 he was a founding investor of Visual Tools, a company that writes and markets component software, which was acquired by Sybase Software in 1996.

He is on the boards of Fundtech and the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

6. Dan Schulman, Paypal CEO

Dan Schulman joined PayPal in 2014 as President and CEO to lead the company as it separated from eBay. Which is to say he’s the head of one of the largest online payment companies. In 2013, Paypal moved $180 billion in 26 currencies across 193 countries.

Schulman has a successful track record in taking over newly-acquired companies and growing fledgling companies until they are acquired. At the start of his career, he was President and CEO of Priceline Group, Inc. He also spent 18 years at AT&T. Schulman grew Virgin Mobile USA as its founding CEO from one of the first U.S. prepaid cell providers into a huge public company that was acquired by Sprint Nextel for $688 million. After that, Schulman led global strategy and expanded payment services as vice president of American Express.

Schulman is reportedly most proud of his achievements in helping underserved populations. Under him, Virgin Mobile won the private sector award for bringing focus to the plight of homeless youth, and, at American Express, he worked to bring attention and introduce new products to 70 million U.S. adults underserved by traditional consumer financial institutions. He is also a board member of Autism Speaks.

7. Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of Coinbase

Coinbase is an international digital wallet that lets you securely buy, use, and accept bitcoin currency. By founding Coinbase, Armstrong provided a much easier and safer way to exchange bitcoins.

Armstrong has prior experience as a software engineer for Airbnb and previously founded Universitytutor.com, but it’s clear he’s hit his stride with Bitcoin. As CEO of Coinbase and Bitcoin expert, he has a lot of power to decide how the most widely used alternative currency will be brought further into the mainstream.

Since inception, Coinbase has raised over $100 from investors and expanded to 24 countries. Armostrong is one of the major leaders who will have a say in how Bitcoin evolves and grows.

8. Satoshi Nakamoto, Creator of Bitcoin

We don’t know if Satoshi Nakamoto is a person or a group of people, but we do know Satoshi Nakamoto is super important. There’s speculation about almost every aspect of Bitcoin, but there’s no denying its potential.

Nakamoto created the Bitcoin protocol and reference software, Bitcoin Core, and in 2008 published a paper on the Cryptogtraphy Mailing list at metzdowd.com describing the digital currency. In 2009, Nakamoto released the first Bitcoin software that launched the network and the first bitcoins.

Nakamato’s contact with the community began to fade around 2010. He/she/they eventually handed over control of the source code repository and alert key functions of the software to Gavin Andresen, as well as control of the Bitcoin.org domain and several other domains to various prominent members of the Bitcoin community. Nakamoto is said to be in possession of roughly one million bitcoins, the largest amount owned by any single address.

Bitcoin may have a long way to go before it revolutionizes remittances, but the impact of Nakamoto’s creation is already being felt.

9 & 10. Iqram Magdon-Ismail & Andrew Kortina, Venmo Co-founders

Magdon-Ismail and Kortina changed money transfer forever when they made it social. Former college roommates, they wanted an easier way to split costs so they built Venmo, a mobile-based platform that lets friends pay each other back in seconds. You can choose to name or describe each transaction so your friends can see what you’ve been using Venmo for on their feeds, while the transaction amount and all other info remains encrypted.

Both guys are adamant about keeping Venmo free for consumers. They make money by charging merchants and through their API.

Remarkably, Venmo was acquired by Braintree for $26.2 million- just five months after its public launch. The pair made Inc Magazine’s 30under30 in 2010. Before working together, Kortina worked at bit.ly and OMGPop. Magdon-Ismail worked at TicketLeap, Inc. and at iminlikewithyou.com

Did we miss anyone? Let us know on twitter - @regalii!


Manuela Silvestre

Manuela Silvestre

Manuela Silvestre is our blog editor and does Business Development for the company. Manuela embodies the Regalii transnational experience- born in the Dominican Republic, she grew up in the U.S. and lives in El Barrio in New York. She's fascinated by Spanglish and other cool cross-cultural innovations.

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