06 July 2015

Richard Branson joins $25m TransferWise funding round

10 June 2014  |  5698 views  |  0 cash

High profile investors Richard Branson and Peter Thiel have joined a $25 million series b funding round for London-based international money transfer platform TransferWise.

As well as new investor Branson and Thiel's Valar Ventures, existing backers IA Ventures, Index Ventures, TAG, and the owner of Le Monde Xavier Niel joined the round, which takes TransferWise's total funding to $33 million.

The three year old startup uses peer-to-peer technology to match transfers in one currency to those in another, and sends the money from a bank account in the host country to the target account.

So far the platform has been used to transfer more than £1 billion, saving - claims the firm - users over £45 million in banking fees.

TransferWise says it will use the money to continue its aggressive attack on banks and the "hidden fees" they charge for international money transfers.

Having recently posted a prank video on YourTube showing a bar tender pulling pints for customers and then taking a scoop off the top for himself, the startup has now unveiled a Pinterest "Board of Shame" featuring its competitors' advertising.

Branson - no stranger to publicity stunts, himself - has become increasingly involved in the fintech space recently, investing in mPOS giant Square and troubled mobile money startup Clinkle. His TransferWise punt though will see him in bed with a company providing direct competition to his Virgin Money empire.

Says Branson: "It's encouraging to see entrepreneurs using technology to reinvent the old-fashioned FX industry and make a real difference in the market. I see tremendous opportunity for startups like Transferwise to offer breakthrough financial services and products."

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