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transferTransfer To, a company that lets people transfer mobile phone credit to friends or relatives, has raised $3 million in a first round investment to expand the service internationally.

Transfer To operates a service that facilitates the transfer of mobile phone credits (otherwise known as “airtime”) across borders, letting users give their friends or relatives more calling minutes in their mobile phone account.

By sending text messages to Transfer To, foreign workers can use the service to recharge the prepaid mobile phones of their relatives back home. Airtime remittance, as the business is called, is a key cross-border business. Altogether, some 200 million migrants remit $300 billion to relatives each year, using  any method they have at their disposal.

transfer-2The company raised the money from Ingenico Ventures, a firm owned by Ingenico S.A., a Singapore-based provider of secure electronic payment solutions.

Transfer To is available on five continents, allowing workers in countries such as Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico and Poland to send the equivalent of money — in the form of airtime minutes — to their relatives. The company was founded in 2006 by Eric Barbier, a co-founder of Mobileway (later Mobile 365, acquired by Sybase for $425 million in
2006 and now operating as Sybase 365).

Transfer To has 15 employees and it has raised $4.5 million to date, from Ingenico and angel investors. Competitors include Ezetop and Aryty. Barbier said that the company is processing over a million transactions a month and has 100 “migration corridors” covered.

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