Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Global Mobile Finance, a financial technology company has innovated geeRemit, a relationship-driven money transfer mobile app for Africa. The technology for geeRemit was developed in collaboration with North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, and Global Mobile Finance won a $50,000 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award for it in 2020. The Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX) provided Global Mobile Finance with proposal consulting services and helped the company submit their idea to the Air Force Tech Connect- which is a service to connect innovators with the Department of the Air Force innovation enterprise.
APEX is a Department of the Air Force partnership intermediary program funded by the Department of the Air Force to provide process-navigation services, such as team matchmaking and proposal consulting, to small businesses and academic researchers who possess technologies and/or scientific capabilities that have the potential to advance U.S. national security interests.
Global Mobile Finance Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Technology Officer, Sandra K. Johnson, who worked for IBM for 26 years, was inspired to start Global Mobile Finance during her time at IBM as the CTO of IBM Central East and West Africa during which she was based in Nairobi, Kenya. When she would visit the U.S. for vacations, she found that remitting funds to Kenya and other African countries was extremely difficult and expensive due to high fees.
“Once my tenure was up, I thought about what I was going to do next. I decided to marry two concepts: remittance that enables those in the west to send money to family, friends, and emerging countries and funds conveniently and securely deposited into mobile money accounts. That was the genesis of Global Mobile Finance,” said Johnson.
geeRemit addresses the high-cost and safety issues with international remittance services by offering money transfer services that are cheaper, safer, and quicker than other remittance services. A unique feature of geeRemit is that it enables senders to make contributions to various philanthropic organizations by giving a fraction of the transfer to those organizations.
“In our marketing discussions with potential customers, we found that most senders are of the mindset to want to help others, so we knew that this philanthropic component would be an attractive feature,” said Johnson.
Global Mobile Finance was specifically focused on providing a tighter cyber-security component with geeRemit which led to its involvement in the Department of the Air Force STTR program. Johnson is working closely with Gokaraju Balakrishna, associate professor of the Department of Computational Science & Engineering at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University and other researchers to develop advanced cyber-security features that can be added to geeRemit to take it to the next level. This research is aimed at fault detection such as bad actors trying to log in to the system and enable enhanced ease of logging in for genuine actors.
Johnson first heard about APEX at North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University where she is on staff as a visiting scholar.
“I participated in an APEX webinar and found it really interesting. It was a special program for potential candidates from Historically Black Colleges & Universities,” said Johnson.
After attending the APEX webinar, Johnson got together with North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University researchers with whom she had been working to develop an advanced cyber-security component of geeRemit and together they prepared a proposal for the STTR application.
“I worked with my APEX contact to draft the Air Force Tech Connect submission. I think that, coupled with the actual STTR application, was a major factor in our winning this award,” said Johnson.
Global Mobile Finance is working on lightweight personalized analytics to gain insights into how, when, and for what purpose money transfer transactions fund special events and will aid in the development of this capability into a personal financial instrument. This will tailor geeRemit to individual customer needs thus building customer loyalty. Global Mobile Finance also plans to apply for a Department of the Air Force STTR Phase II award.
About Academic Partnership Engagement Experiment (APEX)
APEX cultivates innovation by expanding the American research enterprise for the Department of the Air Force by engaging, connecting, and enabling innovators across academia, industry, and the Department of Defense. APEX utilizes data analytics to identify transformational operational defense solutions in academia, industry, and government sectors; provides process navigation services for academic teams and small businesses; and enhances cross-sector engagement by providing direct connections to the technology needs of multiple Department of Defense programs.
About Global Mobile Finance
Global Mobile Finance, Inc. (GMF) is a fintech startup founded in 2018 and is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. GMF mission is to leverage finance to empower communities to improve their overall quality of life. GMF is led by a strong team with a wealth of experience in technology, finance, marketing and operations.