Facebook venture fund invests $6m in TransferWise

Valar Ventures backing marks further milestone for 2012 Young Guns

Leading US venture fund Valar Ventures today announced it has led  a $6m investment round in UK money transfer service TransferWise, capping an unprecedented two years of growth for the business.

TransferWise, founded by 2012 Young Guns Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, describes its offering as the ‘Skype of currency exchange’ – offering its users a money transfer service between US and European accounts for a fraction of the price charged by High Street banks.

Since launch in early 2011 the company has enjoyed spectacular growth, transferring more than £125m of customer money through the service and growing to 35 staff.

Based in London’s Tech City, TransferWise’s growth continues to be around 20-30% a month and it has expanded its currency offering from a simple GBP-Euro exchange to include the US Dollar, Polish Zloty, and the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Krone.

The investment will be used to further speed up the firm’s plans for growth and to encompass a wider range of currencies.

Established by Paypal founder Peter Thiel, Valar Ventures was the first outside investor in social media giant Facebook. The $6m funding marks Thiel’s first ever Valar Ventures investment in Europe.

Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, said: “We’re delighted to have Peter Thiel as an investor. He really understands how to bring innovation into the banking sector – which is exactly what we’re doing at TransferWise.

“This year we’re aiming to add a dozen new currencies and launch the site in new markets including Germany, Spain, France, and Italy.”

The investment was backed by the government’s trade and investment minister Lord Green, who said: “It is great news that Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, is injecting $6m in London’s TransferWise.

“Peter Thiel’s decision to bring Valar Ventures’ first investment in Europe to Tech City, demonstrates that London is the ideal location for technology firms looking to expand into Europe.”


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