TransferWise, the money transfer company that is taking over Western Union, is valued at $ 3.5 billion after a new investment round, making it Europe's most valuable financial technology start-up
With a lowering of fees and a slick online platform to help consumers move globally and track their transfers, the London-based company is taking a modern approach to a staid business that has been dominated by giants such as Western Union and MoneyGram
"Eight years ago we had a dream, and in a way the whole world was against us," said TransferWise co-founder and chairman Taavet Hinrikus in an interview. "And we've been able to step by step build the business and also change the environment around us to be much more consumer friendly."
TransferWise is not adding fresh cash to its balance with the investment but instead giving
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European private equity group Vitruvian Partners and U.S. investment firms Lone Pine Capital and Lead Edge Capital bought shares from existing investors while early investors Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford increased their holdings in the company. Funds managed by BlackRock also contributed to the round
"We have been a profitable company for the past two years, we have a significant amount of cash sitting on our balance sheet," Hinrikus said. "The company does not need any cash."
TransferWise booked a net profit of £ 6.2 million for the fiscal year ending March 2018, while annual revenue almost doubled to £ 117 million. The company says it is signing up to 10,000 new business customers a month, and now has 5 million total customers, processing £ 4 billion in monthly transactions
The latest fundraising means TransferWise is now the most valuable fintech start-up in Europe, surpassing British digital lender OakNorth, which was last valued at $ 2.8 billion
Hinrich said the company is not in a rush to go public
"While we believe we will be a public company eventually, that does not help us do what we want to do in the next couple of years," he said.
For now, the company is focused on growth. TransferWise currently has more than 1,600 employees worldwide and will hire 750 more over the next 12 months, Hinrich said.
WATCH: How TransferWise has integrated its product into bank apps