Skype’s first employee secures $1.3m for money transfer start-up TransferWise

PayPal co-founder, Index Ventures, IA Ventures, and Seedcamp among the investors in the venture


The first-ever employee of Skype has secured $1.3m in seed funding for his peer-to-peer money transfer start-up.

Taavet Hinrikus, who founded TransferWise using his own money last summer, has received the investment from a consortium led by Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal.

Levchin has been joined by investment firms IA Ventures and Index Ventures, pan-European business accelerator Seedcamp, and a group of strategic angel investors.

Robin Klein, a partner at Index Ventures, says Hinrikus’ achievements as director of strategy at Skype were a key factor in his company’s decision to invest.

“Taavet has proven that he can launch a global company, having previously built Skype together with Niklas Zennstrom from a simple idea on paper to hundreds of millions of users”.

In addition to his work at Skype, Hinrikus has invested in Twitter monitoring platform Tweetdeck, and served on the boards of blip.tv, Oskando and Mendeley. He remains an advisor at Ambient Sound Investments, the investment house started by four ex-colleagues at Skype.

His new company, which allows users to exchange money across borders in return for flat fees from just £1, passed …10m in total transaction value in February.

With the seed funding in place, Hinrikus is confident that his venture can achieve game-changing success.

“We are using the power of technology and the crowd to disrupt the industry and cut out the middlemen, and many of the middling fees, from a service that is dominated by banks,” he said.

“It’s smart finance. Consumers and businesses deserve to be able to use the full power and reach of the funds they are trying to transfer and we want to restore integrity and transparency to the process and this growing industry.”

 

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