Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures makes London its first investment in Europe
TransferWise, the London-based peer-to-peer money transfer business, has secured a $6 million investment round led by Valar Ventures, the venture fund founded by Facebook’s first outside investor and co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel.
The Skype of money transfers
Since its launch two years ago. TransferWise has transferred over £125m worth of customer money – and over half of that has been in the last six months and is often referred to as the Skype of money transfers.
The company currently has 35 members of staff, and handles transfers between Euro, British Pound, US Dollar, Polish Zloty, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Krone. The firm continues to grow between 20-30 percent a month.
The company had a good start to 2013 winning an award at the Europas, and recently gave away $100m of free transfers to 1000 European startups as we reported back in April.
Commenting on the investment, Peter Thiel said:
“Innovation in the banking industry typically involves rent-seeking or unsound derivatives, which offer marginal benefits to consumers. TransferWise demonstrates true innovation in banking by enabling its users to retain their wealth across borders.”
Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise, said:
“We’re delighted to have Peter Thiel as an investor. He really understands how to bring innovation into the banking sector – which is exactly what we’re doing at TransferWise. His investment will help accelerate our expansion plans.”
Joanna Shields, CEO Tech City and UK Business Ambassador for Digital Industries, said:
“Transferwise is a shining example of the successful businesses that make Tech City a thriving ecosystem. London has a real strength in financial services and technology, with many companies like Transferwise transforming financial services for consumers, for the better.”
Full list of investors in the funding round
Thiel’s Valar Ventures leads TransferWise’s ‘Round A’ funding. Existing investors and SV Angel also participated.
They join fellow PayPal founder, Max Levchin, IA Ventures, Index Ventures, TAG (Robin Klein and Saul Klein), Seedcamp, Betfair’s former CEO David Yu, and the owner of Le Monde Xavier Niel (via Kima Ventures). This brings the total TransferWise has raised to $7.35 million in the two years since its launch.