Saturday 10 December 2016

Foreign exchange disruptor Currencyfair made €3.2m loss in 2015

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

Currencyfair director Brett Meyers
Currencyfair director Brett Meyers

Currencyfair, one of Ireland's hottest-tipped start-ups, recorded a loss of €3.22m in 2015. This follows a loss of €2.63m in 2014.

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The financial technology business has expanded quickly since its formation in 2009, financed by several fundraising rounds, raising a total of €23m.

One of a wave of start-ups taking on an activity that has traditionally been very lucrative for banks, it provides low-cost foreign exchange services based on a peer-to-peer model.

Its sales soared during the year, but so too did its costs, newly-filed accounts show.

Revenue was €4.44m, up from €2.16m the year before. Operating expenses were €7.79m up from €4.89m in 2014. The company told the Sunday Independent it had chosen to invest in staff and product rather than make a profit.

"We make a profit on all transactions so could choose to be profitable at any time," said a spokesperson for the company.

"However we have chosen to take on considerable investment to expand rapidly as the lifetime value of a customer is very high. We will continue to support that strategy," they concluded.

The company's most recent fundraising round closed in March, securing €8m from Proxy Ventures and Octopus Investments, a British company with over £5bn under management. Other investors include Dublin venture capital firm Frontline, angel investors and staff.

Its accounts show that staff numbers at its Irish business almost doubled during its 2015 year to 42 from 22.

Staff costs almost doubled in tandem, rising to €2.93m in 2015 from €1.48m in 2014.

Directors shared remuneration of €125,667 up from €103,750.

The company's directors are Jonathan Potter, Brett Meyers and Will Prendergast, who was appointed in September 2014 after Sean Barrett resigned as a director.

Currencyfair's main rival is another start-up, UK-based TransferWise. Developed in 2011 by Estonian Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise famously scored a $1bn valuation in 2015 when it raised $58m in a funding round. Its backers include Richard Branson and Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Currencyfair was recently named the cheaper service for transferring money abroad by Which? magazine, which looked at the cost of transferring £10,000 (€13,141) to a euro account abroad and moving £1,000 into US dollars.

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