War Chest Ready! MyCash Online Eyes Migrants in Singapore and Middle East

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MyCash Online is a fintech startup that has been making waves domestically for its ability to provide migrant workers the opportunity to purchase products and services without the need for using bank accounts. Central to this much talked about platform is Mehedi Hasan, CEO of MyCash Online who happens to be a migrant himself and a native of Bangladesh.

Intrigued by his story, Newstream Asia catches up with the affable Mehedi in an attempt to get to know him better, his challenges and plans to cultivate MyCash Online as the future e-wallet destination for migrant workers worldwide.

Mehedi started off his journey in Malaysia a decade ago when he chose to study Software Engineering in Kuala Lumpur. He tells us that he has prior experience managing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Short Message Service (SMS) based Telco Value Added Service (VAS) services for the Migrant Working division at Digi Telecommunications. It was during this period in Mehedi’s history of employment that the idea for MyCash Online emerged. Mehedi realised that migrants had strong purchasing power in mobile credit and understood that there would be a demand for an e-marketplace that enables these migrant workers to not just reload their phone credit but also pay bills, buy bus tickets, and much more.

“Since its launch in April 2016, MyCash Online has served over 65,000 customers and carried out more than 280,000 transactions worth RM4.3 Million in total,” declares Mehedi. His customers make up mostly of Bangladeshis, Nepalis, Indians and Indonesians.

But how exactly did he capture his intended audience? To this question, Mehedi replies that the solution is twofold – via online and offline. The online method consists of Facebook and webpage advertisements. He says that advertisements are manufactured to appeal to the emotions of migrants and in the process compels them to call their loved ones back at home – using MyCash Online as the platform to do so.

“The offline method is through independent agents called MSPs (Mobile Sales Personnel) – altogether, we have about 1,000 of them located in various parts of Malaysia, more notably in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bharu,” says Mehedi. These agents are tasked with selling MyCash Online to these migrants as a platform to purchase their products online. MSPs comprise of mom and pop store owners, mamak restaurants and mobile shops – all of which are frequented by migrants. In return, these agents earn commissions for their hard selling.

Picture of a mobile phone store keeper. Mobile phone shops are a great way to reach out to migrant workers as they often flock to these stores to purchase prepaid for their mobiles. Image source: MyCash Online

Last month, MyCash Online made Malaysian history by becoming the first fintech company to successfully raise funds through equity crowdfunding. Raising US$304,000 (RM1.3 million) within 24 hours via pitchIN, we ask Mehedi on this record breaking feat. “We really did not expect the funds to be raised within such a short frame of time! Cradle Fund and co-investor JC Management took up RM1.2 million while other investors filled up the remaining RM100,000,” he says.

So what’s next for MyCash Online? According to Mehedi, he is in current talks with AirAsia to introduce the sale and purchase of air tickets via MyCash Online’s platform. By doing away with the need for a travel agent, tickets can be sold at a much cheaper rate making it affordable for the million odd migrant workers here in Malaysia. Capitalizing on the idea one step further, Mehedi also plans to introduce hotel booking services via the platform. Realizing its viability, he aims to partner up with Tune Hotels to bring this idea into fruition.

Mehedi’s goals do not just stop there. The determined CEO intends to dramatically increase the number of MSPs to 5 million personnel by the end of 2018. As ambitious as this may sound, these agents are pivotal to the growth of MyCash Online’s user base.

Mehedi aims to boost MSPs in his quest to reach out to more migrant workers in Malaysia

On plans for expansion, Mehedi and his team have their eyes set on Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – places where there is a huge market to tap as far as migrant workers are concerned. Mehedi intends to introduce a payroll system via MyCash Online, so that in the future, employers need only utilize the e-wallet platform as a conduit to channel salaries to their employees.

With the advent of MyCash Online, migrants will be able to remit cash to and connect with their families back at home in a more conducive manner, minus the hassle of opening up bank accounts. Image source: MyCash Online

Mehedi and his team are rallying to establish MyCash Online as a digital bank of the future. “Instead of registering an account with the various websites to book your tickets, top up your mobile credit or transfer money, all you need to do is maintain one account with us and one credit balance. Anything you need, you can come get it here,” says Mehedi.

Foreseeing considerable opposition from banks who might view MyCash Online as competition, the CEO says he wants to rubbish those claims by asserting that it is an opportunity to work hand in hand with them by establishing partnerships and not the opposite. “We do not want to reinvent the wheel, just innovate it,” he quips compellingly.

Well said, Mehedi! We wish you nothing but the best in future endeavors and look forward to seeing MyCash Online flourish in years to come.