Rajesh Agrawal is on a mission to make sending money “back home” easier and cheaper for people in the UK.
After making his money in foreign exchange, Rajesh has set up Xendpay , a company which offers people the chance to transfer relatively small amounts of money overseas fee-free.
“I send money back to India,” he said. “And I set this company up because of the lousy exchange rates I noticed people getting.
“If you send money to sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 25% of it is normally taken off in fees. More than half of Somalia’s GDP is made up of money being sent there from abroad. So if you sent £200 there, £50 would be taken off.
“People don’t realise that being able to send money back to these countries really helps their economies.”
Since setting up in Canary Wharf , Rajesh believes the secret to Xendpay’s burgeoning popularity is the way his “pay what you like” policy has spread by word of mouth.
“When you travel on the Tube, you will normally see lots of adverts for money transfer services,” he said. “But advertising like this is expensive, and so too will be the fees.
“We don’t spend any money on advertising, and we have found that people tell each other about it. When 10 people use the service and each tell 20 people, that’s 200 people that know about it from just 10 transactions.”
He claims the business is now growing by around 30% every month, and believes it shows the power of humanity.
“It surprised me,” he said. “So many people were telling me when I first started it that nobody would pay, but I had faith in mankind, and at least 90% of the people who use the service contribute something to it.
“And this is what it’s all about – the people that can afford it we ask them to pay, and if you can’t afford it you don’t have to.”
Rajesh’s own story is a classic rags-to-riches tale of someone whose smart business sense got them through tough times.
He said: “When I first came to England in 2001, I had only £200 in my pocket and did not know anything about the country.
“In 2005, I set up my own business and slept in my business partner’s dad’s house – neither of us had any money to invest. Now I am in an office looking over London and have 75 people working for me.
“Society has given me so much, and now it’s time I give something back.”