TransferWise is a peer-to-peer international money transfer service that helps people save a lot of money on transferring small and large payments.
Their target market is the individuals and small businesses who want to transfer small amount of money internationally from time to time. They mainly focus on countries in the Europe. However, banks usually charge a ridiculously high amount of fee for such foreign exchange and transfer services. For instance if somebody wants to transfer 100 euros from Germany to his friend/family in UK (exchanged to pound), they end up paying 30 euros in exchange and transfer fees that makes it totally infeasible.
Their solution is a “Gain-Creator” category because they help their users/customers save money on exchange rates and transfer fees, makes small money transfer and exchange problem solved, outperforms existing solutions through banks and makes the customer’s life much easier.
TransferWise is based in the UK and started on 2011. They have appeared on a couple of business webpages and magazines including Wired.co.uk, MarketWatch.com, GIGAom.com, Forbes and TechCrunch. They received $1.3 million seed funding in 2012 and raised $6 million series A in 2013.
One major challenge in this market is money-laundry and fraud protection and detection. Competition in this sector is high and eventually if big companies such as PayPal can reduce their fees and exchange rates can seriously endanger other companies who have not proven a reliable brand yet.
Interesting facts about the company:
Taavet Hinrikus, founder and CEO of TransferWise was Skype’s first employee back in 2003 and worked in a variety of technology and business related roles.
The company was initially named “CommonFX” that to represent ‘common people’ and ‘foreign exchange’. However, that name caused mass confusion among some common users who were female, blonde, good looking and happened to have 5000 male friends on their facebook profile, who thought CommonFX was a kitchen appliance product or and electro band.