BRITAIN’S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN CARIBBEAN HERITAGE.
Ismail founded London’s hottest fin-tech start-up, WorldRemit, to take the pain and cost out of sending money ‘back home’ to family and friends. Just six years after its launch, his London-based company is a leading player in the increasingly competitive world of currency exchange – a market which according to Forbes, is worth $550bn. Taking the fight to market leaders Western Union and MoneyGram, Ismail’s game-changing app was used for 3.5 million transfers last year and he has raised US$100m in funding based on a valuation of the business at US$500m.WorldRemit is an expanding global business with 200 employees in offices in the UK, North America and Australia. Last year revenue was £27m, up from £15m in 2014. Investors include Accel Partners, an early backer of global tech startups including Facebook, Spotify and Dropbox. Somaliland-born Ismail set up the company in 2010 with the £200,000 compensation he was awarded from his time working at the UN Development Programme who were judged to have unfairly treated him after he blew the whistle on alleged corruption. Inspired by mobile communications entrepreneur, Dr Mo Ibrahim, Ismail enrolled on the executive MBA course at London Business School to receive a formal business education. He had already been burnt when a previous attempt at entrepreneurship failed. Ismail says: “Failing in that business convinced me that I needed to go to LBS to improve my skills. I could read financial statements but I needed to understand branding, marketing and leadership.”