Taavet Hinrikus, part of the original team that built Skype, has launched a campaign to help European startups save money and focus their limited resources on growing their business.
--The campaign aims to use the technology he has developed for TransferWise to give 1,000 startups $100k worth of free international money transfers.
--Hinrikus hopes that free access to the TransferWise platform will stop startups wasting money on the bank charges they incur when they pay employees or suppliers abroad, attend international conferences, set up offices overseas or raise investment from a foreign firm.
--The campaign has already received support from 25 prominent startups and organisations including: Niklas Zennström, CEO of Atomico, co-founder of Skype; Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal; Richard Moross, founder of MOO, Sherry Coutu, serial entrepreneur and investor; TCIO, Jon Bradford from Techstars; Eileen Burbidge, partner at Passion Capital and many others (full list in notes to editor below).
Taavet Hinrikus has launched a campaign to give EU startups $100,000,000 worth of free international money transfers, using the technology he has developed for TransferWise. He hopes that startups across Europe will plough these savings into their growth strategies.
Taavet Hinrikus, the co-founder of TransferWise, was Skype's director of strategy until 2008, joining the original team in 2002. He said:
"I remember all too well how depressing it was to throw away the precious little resources we had in the early days of Skype. We didn't have investment and were struggling - every pound and euro needed to count. Working between London, Tallinn and Stockholm, meant we were constantly wasting money on banking fees. It was important to me to do something about this for other startups when I got a chance - TransferWise's technology and this campaign is my small way of doing that."
Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, said:
"Any entrepreneur knows that it hurts to lose money. During the early days of Skype, just as we were getting started, we lost significant amounts of money when managing our scarce funds across multiple countries, banks and currencies. TransferWise has created a technology that makes it possible to dramatically reduce these everyday costs, yet the fact that they are giving it back to startups to use for free demonstrates a company united for the common good. Similar to how we enabled free calls with Skype. "
Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, said:
"Innovation in the banking industry typically involves rent-seeking or unsound derivatives, which offer marginal benefits to consumers such as startups. TransferWise demonstrates true innovation in banking by enabling its users to retain their wealth across borders, instead of paying big fees to big banks."
Those interested in taking part should visit http://transferwise.com/startups. There startups can claim a voucher for free transfers up to $100,000. 1,000 vouchers available for new users. They will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Startups less than two-years from launch will be eligible. Registration closes on 10 May 2013, vouchers expire on 10 April 2014. Startups do not have to use the full $100,000 voucher in one go, they can apportion it as they see fit.
TransferWise supports currency transfers between Euro, British Pound, Polish Zloty, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Krone. In addition, it supports transfers from the above currencies to US Dollars. Transfers from US Dollars to European currencies are coming soon.