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London fintech star Transferwise doubles revenue as losses grow

Lynsey Barber
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TechCrunch Disrupt London 2014 - Day 2
Founder and boss Taavet Hinrikus expects more revolution in fintech (Source: Getty)

Fintech unicorn Transferwise has revealed revenue tripled last year but losses grew as it continues to plough cash into global growth.

Revenue came in at £28m in 2015, up from £10m the previous year, while pre-tax losses grew to £17m from £11m a year earlier.

The payments firm transfered more than £800m a month for customers, which now number one million. The number of transactions has also grown 50 per cent to 600,000 in the last six months it said on Monday, working out as an average of £1,333 being sent per transaction.

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The five-year-old startup, which earlier this year landed a new multi-million pound series D round of funding, which gave the firm a valuation of more than $1bn and membership of the prestigious Unicorn club, now boasts an eight per cent share of the UK money transfer market.

However, as per most high growth startups, it is still loss making as it ploughs cash into expanding the business.

“When we launched five years ago, we only offered transfers between the UK and Estonia. Now we have 645 routes globally and we can send money to 90 per cent of the world's bank accounts," said chief executive and co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

"We’ve really hit our stride in the last two years as we expand beyond Europe. We’re constantly working hard to improving the service for our customers whether that’s by introducing new currencies or making transfers even faster."

Transferwise was recently granted access to the Bank of England's Faster Payments System (FPS), the first fintech startup to be given such permission, meaning that by the end of the year 90 per cent of its transfers will take place on the same day.

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It has also linked up with fellow fintech startups such as German digital challenger bank N26 and Estonian bank LHV to offer its money transfers to their customers.

“This is just the start of the financial revolution," added Hinrikus.

"Non-banks now offer better alternatives to the banks on most services. We’re beginning to realise what else could be possible and how the banking sector could change forever. In 10 years, the sector will look completely different - we won’t use banks like we do today.”

Investors in the startup include top Silicon Valley VCs such as Andreessen Horowitz and Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures, as well as Scottish investment firm Baillie Gifford.

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