Taavet Hinrikus - Founder, TransferWise
Taavet Hinrikus – Founder, TransferWise

What is TransferWise’s mission statement?

International money transfers are more expensive than meets the eye. Although banks and brokers often claim there are ‘no fees,’ many take as much as 5 percent of the money being sent. TransferWise is the clever new alternative that allows people to transfer money abroad at a lower cost than ever before. It uses technology developed by the people who built Skype to remove all the fees the industry have kept hidden for decades. Customers have transferred £3bn using the platform – an approach that has put over £135m back in their pockets. We aim to grow this service until TransferWise becomes everyone’s go-to international money transfer provider.

Where are you headquartered?

We have our headquarters in London’s Tech City. There is a real sense of community amongst the startups here and young companies help each other grow. London has also got a huge pool of people with the right skill and expertise. The only challenge would be that competition for such talent is high – we’re focusing on building an expert team.

Who do you think will be the most influential figures (or companies) in Fintech, in 2015?

The solutions offered by fintech companies such as Nutmeg and Funding Circle help ordinary people overcome hurdles that come from an outdated system. We have no doubt that they will continue to form an important part of disruptive fintech force in 2015.

What kind of year do you foresee for your company, and the industry as a whole?

We’ve grown 15-20% month-on-month over the past year, and will focus on sustaining our growth in the coming year. We’ve just launched in the US, opening offices in New York and Florida. We’ll also be opening offices in Berlin and Australia by the end of the year, so global expansion is a big focus for us. Fintech companies everywhere are disrupting industries that are in need of a change and we’re happy to be a part of that.

What are your key targets for 2015?

Grow, and then grow some more. We are opening up an additional 200 currency routes this year, and opening up offices in the US, Germany and Australia.

What will be the most important opportunities for FinTech in 2015?

More and more people are becoming aware of available fintech solutions to everyday problems. It’s up to fintech companies to capitalise on this and build products which are cheaper and more consumer friendly than the traditional system.

What are the key hurdles for growing your business this year?

Our biggest challenge is still getting people to know that banks are ripping them off. Banks have profited off people’s ignorance for decades and a lot of our work goes into making people aware of the problem.

What are your thoughts on the current state of fintech?

It’s great to see that the fintech community is growing and that more consumers are choosing fintech alternatives over the service their banks offer. Fintech offers consumers a fairer, more transparent service – I look forward to seeing more disruptive innovation in the sector this year.

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