By David French and Anirban Sen
(Reuters) - Remitly Inc has hired investment banks to prepare for an initial public offering (IPO) in New York this year that could value the U.S. remittance payments processor at around $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
It would be a significant jump from the $1.5 billion valuation the Seattle-based company attained in its last private funding round in July 2020.
Founded in 2011, Remitly is backed by investment firms including Generation Investment Management, which was co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore; the family office of Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos; and PayU, a unit of Prosus NV.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Barclays Plc have been hired for the listing, which is expected to take place in the second half of this year, the sources added.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information.
"We're focused on creating a strong, sustainable business, serving customers, and fulfilling our vision," Remitly said in a statement, declining to comment specifically on the IPO plans. Representatives of the banks declined to comment.
Remittances are a big part of the global economy. Some $548 billion was transferred by overseas workers to low- and middle-income countries in 2019, according to World Bank data. In some countries such as Tonga, Haiti and Lebanon, remittance inflows account for more than a third of gross domestic product (GDP).
A clutch of digital payments startups have emerged over the past few years, offering cheaper and more convenient remittance methods. They are challenging money-transfer giants such as Western Union Co and MoneyGram International Inc.
Some of these startups are also planning IPOs. UK-based Wise is planning an IPO in London this month that may value it at as much as $7 billion.
(Reporting by David French in New York and Anirban Sen in Bengaluru; editing by Jonathan Oatis)