Swedish founders target Miami to grow immigrant-focused banking startup MAJORITY
Immigration is integral to the fabric of South Florida. The two US cities with the highest proportion of foreign-born residents can be found in Miami-Dade County: Hialeah (74.4%) and the City of Miami (56.4%).
It makes sense that MAJORITY, a startup that is rethinking banking services for immigrant populations, has decided to set up shop in Miami. But the company’s backstory may surprise you.
At the helm of MAJORITY is co-founder and CEO Magnus Larsson (pictured below), who hails from Sweden. Larsson and his fellow co-founders, Johan Dahlqvist (CTO) and Johan Granlund (COO), cut their teeth running Rebtel, a Swedish tech company that made international calls low-cost or free. The team managed to build Rebtel into a $200 million business.
However, Larsson’s connection to Miami goes back even further, to his days as a student. Larsson spent a year in the Magic City studying at the University of Miami. (“Go ‘Canes,” Larsson said with pride, noting that UM’s football team won the Rose Bowl the year he was there.)
Fast forward a couple of decades, and Larsson continues to find luck in South Florida. MAJORITY, which was founded in 2019, already has eight employees in Miami and launched a community center in Little Havana over the summer (shown below).
The startup has imminent plans to open a Miami office and hire four or five more employees. MAJORITY’s largest office is currently in Stockholm, with 40 employees, and they also have a Houston outpost with around 10 employees. Larsson plans to be based in Miami, but he told Refresh Miami that he is still waiting for a much-delayed visa enabling him to land stateside.
For $5 a month, MAJORITY gives customers access to a host of banking services geared towards immigrants in the US. This includes a bank account where users can deposit funds connected to a Visa debit card. Membership to MAJORITY also unlocks free money transfers and remittances sent back to more than 10 countries in Latin America and Africa, with more coming soon.
Larsson explained that MAJORITY stands apart because they have “taken away all fees [on individual transactions] and moved to a subscription.” In Larsson’s estimation, that makes MAJORITY more akin to the business model of Amazon Prime than Wise or Western Union.
This innovation did not come without its struggles, however. “If I had been a banker, I probably would not have tried to do what we tried to do,” acknowledged Larsson. “The way that we combined our products, and how much new ground we had to break to be able to do that, was surprising to me.”
Ultimately though, paving his own path has proven profitable for Larsson and team. MAJORITY has attracted venture capital totaling more than $46 million in 2021. MAJORITY’s successive seed and Series A rounds were led by Valar Ventures, a VC firm co-founded by Peter Thiel.
According to Larsson, this is just the start: “We’ve proven during this year that we have a very attractive model both in terms of a product and our go-to-market model.” MAJORITY plans to use this funding to catalyze product development and expand to new countries.
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