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TransferWise: The Power Of Product And Delighting Users

We’re excited to announce our Series E investment in TransferWise, a next-generation global leader in international money transfer.

Traditional bank transfers and other money transfer services often have punitive and opaque pricing and poor user experiences. To solve these problems, TransferWise is creating a new fabric of international asset and currency transfer driven by a transparent and easy-to-use application for end-users.

Another simplistic consumer finance application? Not so fast. Over the past six years, TransferWise has diligently and smartly struck the right balance between integrating with and disrupting the current, complex financial ecosystem to provide a world class service to consumers and businesses across dozens of countries.

Frustrated by the cumbersome and expensive international bank transfers, co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann set out to create a money transfer system that could eventually be used for various types of international payments. From inception, user experience (speed, reliability, price) and developing user trust were paramount. They achieved this with smart product decisions and a transparent experience and pricing model — never relenting on these core tenets.

What we found most compelling about Kristo, Taavet and the rest of the team was how aligned they were on product focus. Despite running an efficient go-to-market engine, they refuse to indiscriminately spend on marketing. They realize that smart digital marketing and outspending competitors is not a sustainable differentiator, but building great product your users love is. This product-first strategy has led to viral adoption and the more users that sign-up and send money through the system, the better the product and pricing for users, which leads to further viral adoption.

The TransferWise team is on a mission to take the inefficiencies out of the existing financial money transfer ecosystem and delight users while doing it. Their maniacal focus on product has allowed them to build a rapidly growing, profitable business tackling a massive market. We’re thrilled to partner with them on their journey to build an enduring and valuable global category leader in the financial technology space.



The information set forth herein is not intended to constitute investment advice and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Sapphire Ventures. Sapphire Ventures does not solicit or make its services available to the public and none of the funds are currently open to new investors. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

The portfolio companies referred to above do not necessarily represent all of the investments made or recommended by Sapphire Ventures, and were not selected based on the return on Sapphire Ventures’ investment in them. It should not be assumed that the specific investments identified and discussed herein were or will be profitable. Not all investments made by Sapphire Ventures will be profitable or will equal the performance of the companies identified above. View all of Sapphire Ventures’ investments here.