Business World

Tuesday 18 June 2019

TransferWise value doubles to €3bn after share offering

TransferWise co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann
TransferWise co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann

Jeremy Kahn

International money-transfer company TransferWise said it is valued at $3.5bn (€3.1bn) following a secondary share offering.

Funds managed by BlackRock joined in the $292m investment round in the London-based company, which was led by Lead Edge Capital, along with Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners, TransferWise said in a statement.

Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford & Co, the Scottish investment manager, increased their stakes as part of the deal, the company said.

Eight-year-old TransferWise is among a crop of fintech firms to have sprung up in recent years, promising to reinvent financial markets, lower costs and increase transparency. Along with peers such as Revolut, the startups are gaining ground on banks that have traditionally dominated the market for wholesale payments and cash management.

The shares being offered came from early investors as well as from co-founders and 'hundreds' of rank-and-file employees, Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise's co-founder and chairman, said in an interview ahead of the announcement.

None of TransferWise's institutional investors sold shares as part of the offering and Mr Hinrikus and his co-founder, Kristo Kaarmann, who is the company's chief executive officer, retain more than 80pc of their shares in the firm.

"I am super excited that we can turn this monopoly money for employees into real dollars,' Mr Hinrikus said, referring to the stock options TransferWise grants all of its employees.

TransferWise, which has been profitable since 2017, didn't need further investment, Mr Hinrikus said, but investors had been clamouring to put money into the firm and the secondary offering seemed like a good way to reward early individual backers and employees.

Bloomberg

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