Welcome Tech Secures $30M to Build the Future of Immigration
Moving is seldom an easy process, something that’s doubly true for people seeking to make their home sweet home in a completely new country. Beyond establishing one’s citizenship and maintaining security policies, the U.S. has made considerably less effort to accommodate the other various needs immigrants have upon their arrival. Welcome Tech is working to pick up the slack with a collection of tools to help users along their immigration journey.
As children of first-generation immigrants, CEO Amir Hemmat and his co-founder Raul Lomeli built Welcome Tech to address the everyday needs of those in the U.S. immigration system. Hemmat describes the government’s current setup as a “sink or swim” system that’s typically full of trial and error-based processes. Because of this, it’s often riddled with inefficiencies and sometimes even predatory activity.
To better prepare people in the areas where these instances tend to take place, Welcome Tech provides resources to help users with finance, health and education situations through its initial consumer offering SABEResPODER. With the goal of building a better operating system for immigrants and immigration, the company designed solutions including a digital wallet, reward system, fee-free banking services and a low-cost healthcare subscription. It strives to connect users to the information and services that will help them thrive here in the U.S., Hemmat said.
As it works to set a national example, Welcome Tech announced the raise of $30 million in funding from investors including TTV Capital, Owl Ventures and SoftBank’s Opportunity Fund. The raise follows the company’s oversubscribed Series B round last April. To date, its total funding reaches $70 million.
“We certainly want to improve the lives of immigrants and the multigenerational households that we serve,” Hemmat told Built In. “We also want to build a stronger country. ... The U.S. should be an example to the world on how we onboard and support our immigrant communities. If we want to stay competitive on the global stage … [we] would want to attract great talent and then enable that talent.”
Welcome Tech’s solutions have been quickly adopted over the past year and the company is fueling a momentum of growth. SABEResPODER experienced 60 percent growth year-over-year in 2021 and now serves over 3 million users. Its digital wallet and banking services also saw 2,200 percent growth and have more than 1 million app downloads.
“I think immigration, similar to other systems, as an experience comes with a lot of unnecessary pain points and challenges and inefficiencies that really can be solved with data technology,” Hemmat said. “Technology has really changed our ability to personalize and customize and that’s where Welcome Tech has really been able to thrive. … We’re really making an impact for this immigrant consumer across multiple services.”
With the new capital, Welcome Tech will be able to expand its service offerings, launch a new product in the second half of this year as well as grow its team. The company plans to raise a Series C later this year, according to Hemmat.
Welcome Tech will focus on growing its subscription offering that helps members access critical services in healthcare as well as in the legal space. The latter consists of features like the ability to send money to their friends and families. It also plans to release a product that will provide users with a fair path to building credit, Hemmat said.
The company is hiring with a focus on product and engineering to accomplish these goals. At the time of its previous funding round, Welcome Tech operated with a team of 20 people. To date, that number has increased to almost 80, and the company plans to exceed a headcount of 100 by the end of the year.
In expanding its team, Welcome Tech is continuing to prioritize diversity. Almost half of its current staff are from underrepresented groups. In the same vein, the company’s board of directors is over 71 percent ethnically diverse, according to the company. Welcome Tech announced the addition of two new board members alongside its funding including Mónica Gil and Michael Camuñez.
“We see ourselves as the future of immigration and being that platform that all immigrants turn to access services and opportunities in their lives,” Hemmat said. “We believe we can build a better brand, better technology, better service set, better team and better dataset than the government ever could, and as a result, fill the gap that allows us to … make [an] impact [on] millions of people’s lives.”