Tech Pitch: Mayfair FX

Entrepreneurial brothers Jessal and Miraj Shah talk us through their foreign exchange platform and how they plan to assist small and medium businesses trading overseas...

Company name: Mayfair FX
Founders: Jessal Shah (28) and Miraj Shah (24)
Background: Jessal Shah: foreign exchange sales at HSBC  Miraj Shah: Masters in mathematical trading and finance
Based in: London

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

Mayfair FX provides businesses with a secure, user-friendly online platform to execute their currency transfers and international payments. Clients have the ability to trade over 200 currency pairs both spot and forward with 24/7 access to the platform.

Transparency and competitiveness is at the heart of the business, such that we display our pricing on our website alongside the mid-market rate. Traditionally banks and brokers have avoided doing so but we want clients to feel comfortable knowing exactly how much they are being charged and that they are receiving a low, consistent and fair foreign exchange price.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

For generations foreign exchange margins have been hidden from businesses resulting in higher costs when transferring money abroad. We do not think this is fair. Most clients are unaware of their foreign exchange margin, which leads to the question, how do they know if they are getting a fair deal?

Banks and foreign exchange brokers have kept foreign exchange margins hidden from the client as it means they will earn a bigger commission. By openly displaying our pricing we hope to open an industry-wide discussion about foreign exchange margins, and ultimately we hope clients will get a better deal.

Currently, in the UK alone there are over 110,000 importing and exporting small and medium businesses with over $100bn daily average foreign exchange turnover by non-financial UK companies. We believe we are in the perfect position to assist this market to reduce their costs and use the cost saving to grow further.

Are you funded?

We are currently self-funded. We expect to begin the fundraising process in 2015.

What were you doing before starting?

Jessal Shah spent over five years at HSBC in the foreign exchange sales department looking after corporate and commercial clients. Miraj Shah was studying mathematics with engineering at the University of Nottingham and then went on to achieve a Masters at Cass Business School in mathematical trading and finance.

What the best thing about where you’re based?

London has been widely regarded as the world’s biggest financial centre for foreign exchange for quite some time but more recently it is being regarded as the centre of financial technology (FinTech) too. There is a great deal of excitement and buzz going around the city with numerous new innovative start-ups popping up everywhere coupled with the global traction they are building.

It is a fantastic time to be in London and offers great access to talent, technology and transparency!

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