Xoom, a US firm that enables P2P money transfer either online or via smartphone, has debuted on Nasdaq.

The company’s target market is US immigrants who want to send money back to their home country.  It has collected $101.3 million in proceeds from the IPO. Beyond the usual working capital and general corporate purposes, Xoom will use a portion of the proceeds to acquire complementary businesses, products or technologies, says the company.

Its international remittance service is offered between the US and 30 other countries although transfers from the States to the Philippines, India and Mexico are its mainstays. These three markets account for about three-quarters of its business.

Nearly a quarter of its transactions are carried out through mobile devices.

Backers include Sequoia Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Agilus Ventures and DAG Ventures. Board members number Sequoia Capital partner Roelof Botha and Keith Rabois, the former COO of Square.

Xoom makes revenue by charging a fee on each transaction. Its revenue grew by 68 per cent in the first nine months of 2012 to $58 million. It has yet to reach profitability and reported a net loss of $4.3 million for the nine months to the end of September 2012.

Rivals include traditional remittance firms such as Western Union and Moneygram, whose users send cash via the two companies’ global networks

The company’s share price has risen approximately 50 per cent since launch but some observers are sceptical about its business model.

Blog FinVentures pointed out that customers transfer money into Xoom directly from their bank accounts rather than using cash, meaning the company is dependent on banks. In addition, banks provide the KYC (know your customer) services necessary for Xoom to comply with US regulations.

“My guess is that volume has been too small for the banks or regulators to bother with Xoom. It is building its business on top of bank networks with no bank upside for participation. This is WU/MGI’s (Western Union/Moneygram) advantage of having cash in/out. They have their own separate clearing network,” said the blog.