Frog Blog

TELL Series – Taavet Hinrikus of TransferWise

By Joe Krancki

As with phone calls and taxi rides before Skype and Uber, money transfers seem “incredibly boring”, Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, told the TELL audience on 4 March. But as Skype and Uber did, TransferWise is ripping through its respective industry, transforming money transfer from a slow, expensive chore into an impossibly cheap, easy and fast process. TransferWise charge their customers as close to nothing as they can, and they use the real mid-market exchange rate, unlike traditional banks who load opaque fees and exchange rate mark-ups onto their customers. To date, TransferWise has transferred over $3bn of customers’ money, saving them $150m in bank fees. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Peter Thiel and Richard Branson.

Taavet was Skype’s first employee, seeing its sketch on the back of a napkin through to its $2.6bn sale to eBay in 2005. Redressing his drop-out status (he quit his Computer Science undergraduate degree to join Skype), he then returned to education and completed an MBA at INSEAD. Taavet launched TransferWise in 2011 with his co-founder Kristo Käärmann. Read more 

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