fintechFIVE: TransferWise

Elizabeth Barry 1 June 2017

transferwise

Kaarel Kuddu

Pacific Regional Lead

In two sentences or less, describe your product or service.

TransferWise is a new kind of financial company for people and businesses that travel, live and work internationally. It’s the fairest, easiest way to manage your money across borders.

We use real exchange rates and have removed the fees that banks and the foreign exchange industry have kept hidden for decades to let people send money abroad at the lowest possible true cost.

We’re working to make the financial system more fair and to make money transfer instant, convenient, transparent and – eventually – free.

What has been the company's biggest milestone to date?

We’ve been around since 2011 and been present in Australia since 2015. Around the world, our 1 million+ customers are transferring more than A$1.64 billion every month with TransferWise, saving more than A$2.46m every day by using TransferWise rather than their bank.

In Australia, we’re up to eight times cheaper on average to send money abroad than a bank and we’re on track to do $3 billion in transfers to and from Australia in 2017.

Those are some pretty big numbers for a new kind of financial company and we’re just getting started.

What’s your most useful advice for having a productive day?

I never open my email, Slack, or other messages for at least the first hour of each day.

It gives me time to think deeply about our mission and big picture goals and how our team can move the needle on these. It keeps me thinking far ahead when I need to be and it means I don’t start every day in a reactive mode, responding to other people’s needs and requests.

Where do you see the company in 12 months?

We have a long-term plan for the company and our future success depends on our rapid growth today. We have just turned profitable but we’re still investing to grow the business at speed – we’re expecting to grow 150% year over year, keep adding customers, and keep growing market share.

Since my role focuses on expanding our product globally, I’d say that in 12 months we should be growing quickly around the world – not just in our most mature markets – and continuing to improve our local products so they are the best option for customers on the 750+ currency routes we cover.

Which book has had the most influence on your professional mindset?

“How Google Works” really crystallised some of the ideas I’ve thought about for a long time. Technology has sped everything up and transformation is happening quicker than ever. In this type of environment where customers have the power, the only way to succeed is to have the best product and the best team to build that product.

If you really apply that lesson – building a good team to create the best product for the customer – growth naturally follows. That’s something that we focus on every day at TransferWise.


The fintechFIVE is a series of five questions intended to shed light on innovative companies from Australia and around the world. Every Thursday we ask the same five questions to a representative from a new fintech company – check out the most recent fintechFIVEs here.
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