A Guide to Anti-Money Laundering for Crypto Firms

ComplyLaunch Customer Spotlight: Félix

Despite being the largest source of capital globally, remittance services have historically been far from user-friendly or resource-efficient. Stubbornly high costs from operators and time-intensive protocols have inspired entrepreneurs worldwide to revolutionize the architecture surrounding remittances, using cutting-edge technologies to offer alternative means for sending money across borders. 

Bernardo Garcia and Manuel Godoy are two such game-changers, and we caught up with them to learn about their startup endeavor to radically improve the way Latino immigrants send money from the US to their families in Mexico. 

Introducing Félix

“In a nutshell, Félix is a chat-based platform that allows Latino immigrants in the US to send money to their families abroad,” says Garcia. “We exist because the remittances market from the US to Latin America today is predominantly cash-based, which means people have to embark on long commutes to stores and pay large fees just to send the money through to their families – a process that is repeated two or three times a month.”

Such an arduous system didn’t make sense to Garcia and Godoy. So they founded Félix in 2020 and now offer a chat-based solution that is exclusively for Hispanic immigrants in the US.

Identifying the challenge

Having emigrated from Mexico and Venezuela to the US within the last 15 years, Garcia and Godoy experienced the difficulties associated with paying remittances firsthand. But it was during their MBA studies that they uncovered the real depth of the issue, realizing that “80 to 85% of remittances are not digitized.”

“It was then that we realized ‘Wow, this is broken. We need to do something about it.’” 

From cash-based to chat-based

“The chat-based element of our platform was discovered through trial and error. Initially, we tested a web-based service, thinking if we made it super easy to use, very intuitive, and all in Spanish, people would come. But we realized that no one wanted to browse and, in general, everyone hated it! The next step was to create an app, but that also failed. So then we started going back to the stores, to understand why people weren’t clicking with the digital solutions, even though they had smartphones.”

After interviewing hundreds of people, Garcia and Godoy learned that “the biggest factor for people deciding to go to stores was trust – and, for them, trust means talking to a human.”

By offering its remittance service as a chat-based program through WhatsApp, used by 47% of Hispanic adults, Félix is able to meet its customers where they are and cultivate their trust through conversation – digitally mimicking the responsive experience their customers were previously familiar with.

Changing lives for the better

“What I love the most about building Félix,” continues Garcia, “is that we’re building a service that’s going to change millions of lives in a very positive way. There are 60 million Hispanics in the US (20% of the population) of which 25M are foreign born and most of them are spending tremendous amounts of money to support their families. Over time, the remittance fees they’re paying multiple times a month add up to a lot of money, not to mention the time wasted on the commutes to the stores that take an average of 30 mins each way. It’s outrageous […] but it excites me very much to be offering a solution to immigrants like myself.”

A vision made reality

Giving time and money back to the people who need it the most is what Félix is all about. This is their vision and to see it continuously actualized over the past 2 years has been an exciting journey for Garcia, Godoy, and their team. 

“Our proudest achievement to date has to be seeing our vision grow beyond the initial two people who talked non-stop, day and night about how to bring our idea to life. Getting the first beta customers in our service and seeing their feedback is always amazing because they tell us, first hand, that Félix is changing their lives for the better.”

What’s next for Félix?

“This year will be all about growth and getting a good product market fit at a large scale. Getting our first thousand customers is a big goal for us, as well as continuing to learn as much as possible by serving them in order to iterate our product and make it better. 

“Since our product is so conversational, we have the beauty of being able to listen to our customers more than traditional app-based services – meaning we can ask what problems they’re experiencing and what they’d like to see going forward.

“We’ve definitely got our eyes and ears open to see what the next big financial service might be that we can incorporate into the Félix suite of products!”

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Follow Félix:

Connect with Bernardo Garcia
Connect with Manuel Godoy

Originally published June 6, 2022, updated August 2, 2022

Disclaimer: This is for general information only. The information presented does not constitute legal advice. ComplyAdvantage accepts no responsibility for any information contained herein and disclaims and excludes any liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this information.

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