Silicon Valley giant ‘ready to invest millions’ into Young Gun-founded Transferwise?
If completed, the deal will see the Startups 100-ranked business become a certified unicorn - reaching a valuation of over $1bn
A Silicon Valley investment firm is ready to invest “tens of millions of pounds” into Young Guns-founded Transferwise – according to a report by Sky News.
It suggested that VC firm IVP, who previously backed the likes of Snap, Twitter and Netflix, is ready to invest as much as $60m into the currency exchange platform
Specialising in investments in fast-growing, late-stage technology scale-ups, the deal (if completed) will see the Startups 100-ranked business become a certified unicorn – reaching a valuation of over $1bn.
Other UK-founded unicorns include the likes of Skyscanner, Wonga, Brewdog and Zoopla.
Transferwise allows consumers to send money between UK and European accounts for a fraction of the price banks charge, by using a peer-to-peer crowdsourced model to get the best rate on the exchange.
Founded by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann in March 2010, before launching the following January, the duo were born in the Soviet Union -in an area that is now Estonia.
Growing up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, a decade before their homeland would gain independence, the pair attribute the limited environment which they were surrounded by as the inspiration and drive behind their entrepreneurial spirit:
“If you had to fix your washing machines you had to use parts from your car, if you wanted something you had to build it yourself and that has given people an attitude of not being afraid of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty.”
Moving to London, Hinrikus, who was Skype’s first employee, and Käärmann had their lightbulb moment for Transferwise when they encountered difficulties transferring money to one another.
Hinrikus was paid in Euros but needed Sterling for living expenses, while Kaarmann was paid in Sterling but needed Euros to pay off his mortgage back home.
Waiting until midday for a fair exchange rate to agree on, the pair would exchange currencies with each other, cutting out the banks – before creating a system that allowed others to do the same.
Now six-years-old, the start-up has raised over £90m since inception from the likes of Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Sir Richard Branson.