If the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you can work from anywhere as long as you have a computer and good wireless signal. However, getting paid when, for example, you live in Argentina but work for a company on the other side of the world is not that simple.
Many fintech startups have taken up this challenge, including Ping. The company was started in 2021 to solve payment challenges in Latin America, where about 70% of the population does not have a traditional bank account.
Today it is a digital payment tool, available on Android, iOS and desktop, that facilitates international payments for remote workers, contractors and freelancers in both their local currency and in fiat and cryptocurrency.
Ping users create a free account in US dollars to receive wire transfers in either their local currency or crypto, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. It also provides an invoicing system so that freelancers and contractors can send invoices to their employers. The company makes money from fees from its professional level.
The company was founded by Argentine natives Pablo Orlando, Mary Saracco and her brother, Jack Saracco. The team has a heavy background in both cryptocurrency and finance, having previously worked at organizations such as UBS Investment Bank, World Bank, Deloitte and the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange.
As more Latin Americans worked from home after the pandemic, Mary Saracco said the company realized the importance of having a stable way to get paid amid inclusive countries — and unstable economies earned in US dollars “made extremely attractive.”
“Then we said, ‘well, there are clearly a lot of people working remotely in Latin America who are looking for higher paying jobs in dollars. Why aren’t we helping people?’” she told TechCrunch. Ping is now used in 16 countries.
This is also when Jack Saracco’s background in crypto came into play. He led the company’s build on the heels of Latamex, Latin America’s largest fiat-to-crypto gateway that provides what he told TechCrunch is a secure option for users to buy and sell crypto from exchanges like Binance sell.
The possibility to open a US bank account or a crypto account and receive a payment in US dollars, while also seamlessly exchanging from one to the other and making withdrawals in any country, was “definitely an interesting niche market that is growing in the region,” added Jack Saracco. .
The combination of paying from anywhere and the ability to work in crypto seems to have caught on early for Ping. The platform launched four months ago, and within the first month of operations, the company generated more than $1 million in payment volume, CEO Pablo Orlando told TechCrunch.
He also said it’s too early to tell much about the company’s traction, but said users come back monthly, and in some cases within 15 days, to use Ping again.
The company is also now working off $15 million in seed funding from a group of investors including Y Combinator, Race Capital, BlockTower, Danhua Capital, Signum Capital and Goat Capital.
The funds will be deployed in team expansion, including hiring for marketing and sales, and in product development in what will become a premium feature that will be a monthly subscription. Mary Saracco expects it to launch in March.