Photo credit: TransferWise

published 20 Jun 2014 by Mina Nacheva in Estonia 2 minutes 8 seconds to read

TransferWise raises $25M in Series B round

The London-based startup calls for greater transparency in banking


Exactly a week ago was 13 June, and incidentally, it happened to be a Friday. And while some were determined to spend the day hiding in the wardrobe or not leave their bed, the founders of originally Estonian, now London-based TransferWise went all out – so much so that with a crowd of fellow followers,they stripped down to their underwear in central London.

“We got naked in the City of London today to show the banks that, while they screw you by charging huge hidden fees, at TransferWise we’ve got nothing to hide,” co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann wrote on the company’s blog.                   

The nothing2hide campaign is part of TransferWise’s mission to raise consumer awareness of the hidden fees applied by banks in money transfers. In fact, transparency is largely what the company will put its most recent investment into.

25 million dollars and Richard Branson as new investor

Earlier this month, TransferWise announced a successful Series B round led by Richard Branson, founder and CEO of Virgin Group, and amounting to 25 million dollars. Other investors include some of the company’s already existing ones, among whichPeter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, IA Ventures and Index Ventures.

“We weren’t actively looking for investors,” Käärmann told Raising this round was therefore more of a “natural development”, she added. Since its launch about three yeas ago, TransferWise has raised a total of 33 million dollars.

As for the upcoming months, “we’re going to use this money to lead the charge against hidden bank fees and expose the problem to a wider audience,” Hinrikus said in a press release. “It’s outrageous that they can get away with advertising that claims their transfers are ‘fee-free’ despite often taking up to five per cent of the money sent through the exchange rate.“ To compare, TransferWise claims to take a mere 0.5 per cent.

One billion pounds transferred, and growing

To date, the business has transferred over one billion British pounds of customers’ money, claiming to have saved them over 45 million pounds in banking fees. Although no revenues were disclosed, Käärmann said: “We could have broken even at this point already, but for us it’s really important to grow the business, so we are reinvesting into our current business model.”

With a current team of 100, TransferWise is looking to double their head count by the end of summer 2015. Alongside promoting transparency, expansion seems to be at the top of TransferWise’s priority list.