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 seven 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.
The WorldRemit App saw revenue rise from £15million in 2014 to £27 million in 2015. In December 2016, 588,000 transactions were completed on the platform and WorldRemit now employs 328 people worldwide, 260 of whom work in its London office.
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.”