Saturday 24 March 2018

Irish startup app to send currencies between phones

Brett Meyers, founder and chief executive of Currency Fair
Brett Meyers, founder and chief executive of Currency Fair

An Irish startup has released an app for transferring money in different currencies between phones.

CurrencyFair, which employs 100 people in Dublin and Australia, has released the app as a way of beating punitive exchange rates and bank margins.

"It's the world's first peer to peer currency exchange app," said Brett Meyers, founder and chief executive of the company.

"We've spent a while concentrating on building our platform which is more attuned to the sharing economy than simply a polished up traditional brokerage model."

CurrencyFair has released the app soon after raising €10m in funding, bringing its venture backing to almost €15m.

"The app will maintain the usability and security of our desktop and mobile responsive site that has seen our users transfer over €2.5bn to date," said Meyers.

CurrencyFair works by letting its users exchange funds and transfer them overseas via a 'money matching' model, which is usually far cheaper than a bank transfer. It's used mainly by expatriates working or living abroad and the startup's average fee, says Meyers, is currently 0.35pc compared to rates from 2pc to 5pc at rivals such as PayPal, VISA and banks.

Earlier this year, the company became the first service to break the €1bn barrier in such money matching transfers.

Its 18 currencies supported include the euro, US dollar, sterling, Australian dollar, Polish zloty and UAE Dirham.

Money-transfer services are attracting significant investment at present, with UK service Transferwise landing over €50m in funding earlier this year from backers including Richard Branson.

Restaurant reservation app opens up to Dublin diners

A US-based online real-time restaurant-reservation service is to launch in Ireland.

OpenTable, which provides online reservations for 32,000 restaurants around the world and seats about 15m diners a month, has entered the market in Dublin.

"We will be entering Dublin with a phased approach," said Mike Xenakis, managing director of OpenTable International.

"In the coming weeks, we will be introducing our hospitality products to restaurants in the market and adding a number of Dublin's finest restaurants to our network. With a well-established, busy and expanding dining scene, Dublin holds great potential for us."

The 32,000 restaurants served are mainly in the USA, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and the UK, according to Xenakis. The company has seated more than 885 million diners to date, he said.

"This move represents a great opportunity for us to support Dublin restaurants, providing world class technology to both them and diners," he said.

Louth gets down to business with fibre town

Ardee is to become Ireland's third "fibre town" with a fibre connection directly into every business in the Co Louth town's centre.

The move is being facilitate by Enet, the company that holds the concession to manage, maintain and operate two phases of the Irish State's Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) programme.

A spokesman for Enet said that the fibre broadband activation can deliver speeds of 250Mbs.

The MAN infrastructure is in place in 94 towns and cities across the country, with fibre optic cables delivered directly into premises.

The move comes as Eir and Siro promise new fibre broadband services into Irish towns across the country.

Eir says that 23,000 homes and businesses around the country are already able to receive its 1,000Mbs fibre broadband service and that it will roll this service out to 1.9m premises around the country.

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