Apr 22, 2016 Mari Matsuzaki
TransferWise was founded as a result of frustration shared by Hinrikus and Käärmann. As both were expats working in London, they lost a significant part of their salaries every month because of the bank transactions they had to pay to move money between Estonia and the UK. They came up with the idea of TransferWise: a service that promises to send money abroad at the lowest possible true cost without any hidden fees. The service finds and matches bill payers from both currency areas in need of the other currency.
The pivotal moment was when our first customer made the first transfer. That was when we knew it was real.
Lots of people talk about founding a startup but the most important thing you can do is to make that first minimum viable product and then test it with real customers. That’s how you learn and get it right. In every country we operate, we have good relationships with the regulators. It’s important because regulation protects the consumer. Setting up in the UK, we worked with the Financial Conduct Authority which is great at collaborating with new, innovative businesses.
For me, the team is the most important thing. It’s also critical that the team knows what problem they are solving.
I think it’s the attitude of just rolling up your sleeves and getting on with it. It’s what the entire nation had to do – start a country from scratch. I guess that’s a part of our character.
We have a busy year ahead. Our focus is on bringing better, fairer international money transfer to everyone who needs it. We’re just getting started.
Slush events are always great – with a lot of energy and a lot going on. I’m looking forward to my first Slush Asia.
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