Regalii co-founder Edrizio De La Cruz will be speaker at today’s Bloomberg Next Big Thing, where it announces expansion to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Regalii is the first service to allow both remittance users – the immigrant and the family receiving the money – to manage all of the family’s bills and finances in one place. Until Regalii, there was no way to track if the money sent home was well spent. Regalii’s mission has attracted investors such as Maverick, Winklevoss, Kapor Capital and Alexis Ohanian. The company launched at Y-Combinator and Techcrunch Disrupt in 2013, where it had a successful pilot in the Dominican Republic.
Like many of the 54 million Hispanics in the U.S., Edrizio De La Cruz is an immigrant who sends money each month to his aunt in Latin America in order to help her with basic necessities. However, this process is often expensive, slow, and nebulous. “You have no idea when the money arrives or how it’s spent,” says De La Cruz.
Thus, instead of sending cash, De La Cruz, built Regalii.com, a new innovative way of helping out family abroad. Regalii allows immigrants to use their mobile device to track and pay bills for family in Latin America. Users can visit www.regalii.com from any mobile device and link recurring bills – tuition, utility bills, and soon insurance and loan payments – and see live bill balances, due dates and receive reminders and savings tips – all at no charge. Users can also choose to set up automatic bill pay with Regalii, for a small flat fee of $2.99 for any bill amount. Regalii allows users to budget all of their family’s finances back home to reduce the inherent risk of family members carrying large amounts of cash.
After De La Cruz immigrated to New York from the Dominican Republic, he periodically sent money back to his aunt and grandmother. “Every time we sent money, she would have to get on a bus, go to the agency, wait in line, get cash, then go pay their utility bills, get on another bus, then go back home.” he said.
“You leave part of your family behind for better opportunities here. And part of that promise is that you are going to come here, get a better job, and give back. You do that through remittances. However, as the sender, you cannot guarantee that the money will go towards what you intended. And when you are the receiver and live in precarious circumstances (the same ones that may have pushed your family members to move abroad), receiving cash can be a risk—and that’s before even considering the costs involved,” he said.
De La Cruz co-founded Regalii after graduating with his MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. He has since returned to Washington Heights – the same Dominican neighborhood in Manhattan that he grew up in – to establish Regalii’s headquarters.
Regalii is a revolutionary new way of empowering immigrants to support their loved ones back home. With Regalii, immigrants can send money for the most basic needs, such as electricity, water, gas, education and telephone – all this right from their mobile phone. Regalii’s hope is that through transforming the experience surrounding money transfer, our customers will be able to enjoy the process of supporting their loved ones overseas.