Entrepreneurs Cash In On Success Of Start-Up

The pair of entrepreneurs who set up unicorn foreign currency exchange service TransferWise are set to land millions of pounds in the company they started six years ago.

Taavet Hinrikus and Kirsto Kaarmann are selling a small slice of their stakes in the company as part of a funding round that values the international payments app at $1.5 billion.

The duo worked for Skype before leaving to start TransferWise.

They are thought to own around 40% of the company between them as chairman and chief executive, which gives them a fortune of $300 million each from the share sale.

Other early bird investors are also benefitting from the sale of shares.

Unicorn tech business in six years

Investors and employees who have been with the company for three or more years can sell up to 20% of their stakes.

The sale makes TransferWise a rarity in the world of start-ups – a unicorn or a tech business worth more than $1 billion.

TransferWise offers customers competitive foreign currency exchange rates through a smartphone, tablet or computer app.

Rather than buying and selling currency, the app matches people who want to switch currencies peer-to-peer and charges them a fee for the service.

The company claims to transfer $1.5 million a day for customers in transactions that are faster and cheaper than traditional banks of foreign exchange brokers.

10% slice of UK market

TransferWise reckons to have a 10% slice of the UK exchange market and expects to see revenues top $100 million within the year.

“What was an idea seven years ago is now a company that will do $100 million in annual revenue. Next up $1 billion in revenue?” said Hinrikus.

“In a few years it will be time to think seriously about becoming a public company like the strongest and most trusted financial institutions are.

‎”But when we do that we will explore that through our own lens – how will it help our customers? How will it help us achieve our mission faster?”

The company has raised money in several previous funding rounds. The last was in May 2016, when $26 million was injected into the business.

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