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News: BlueKite completes $1.5M funding round, announces expansion

BlueKite announced Wednesday it completed a $1.5 million funding round led by Miami-based investment group PeopleFund.

BK LogoBlueKite, a startup based in Miami, has developed proprietary technology that provides more options to millions of consumers who emigrated and still support loved ones back in their home countries. The company is developing cross-border technology so that immigrants in the United States can directly pay their family’s bills back home, such as electricity, water, gas, internet,  cable, phone, mobile phones, etc.

BobbyIMG_1945“In the unbanked segment in Latin America, paying bills is a tremendous hassle,” said Bobby Aitkenhead, the CEO and founder of BlueKite (pictured at left), explaining that in Guatemala, for instance, paying an electric bill can take four hours involving several buses and long lines. “Then they repeat that process for other bills. We saw a lot of room for improvement there by applying technology.”

He said the company’s research showed that not only did the utilities, regulators and clients all need more efficient methods, but also immigrants in the U.S. want better ways to transfer wealth to their families back home. “Many people are not fully satisfied with just sending cash because there is little control with how it is spent,” said Aitkenhead, who grew up in Guatemala and went to college and worked in finance and trading in the U.S. for many years before launching BlueKite last year.

BlueKite already offers cross-border bill payment for services in Guatemala, helped by an acquisition it made in August, and has recently expanded services to Mexico and El Salvador, said  Aitkenhead. In the first quarter of this year, it plans expansions in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Colombia  and Honduras, and plans an Asia expansion later this year.

Aitkenhead said BlueKite is setting up a distribution system in Florida in order to fully test the demand and the technology before moving into other states. So far, the service is available in  about 40 cash stores in the state.

 “BlueKite is well-positioned to become the fastest-growing leader in cross-border payments by focusing on emerging markets and by providing robust technology and important partnerships in the space,” said Jose Vargas, co-founder and a director of PeopleFund, which has also recently invested in PlaySpace, a Spanish company that has offices in Miami, LionWorks, Summit Eden and other companies. “We are happy with the development and also think that this is a good service for
immigrant consumers.”