Transferwise founders set to sell first shares as forex firm is confirmed as fintech unicorn

 
Jasper Jolly
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Taavet Hinrikus is one of the founders of Transferwise (Source: Getty)

The two founders of Transferwise will sell part of their stakes in the foreign exchange start-up as part of a funding round valuing the fintech darling at $1.6bn (£1.2bn), according to reports.

Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann are set to sell small parts of their 40 per cent ownership of the firm as part of a Series E funding round, Sky News reports.

Transferwise has already completed multiple funding rounds, raising more than $100m in the process from a host of well-known venture capital funds such as Baillie Gifford and prominent Facebook investors Andreessen Horowitz and Valar Ventures.

A share sale would allow early employees to start to crystallise some of the value created by the firm, which cuts foreign exchange fees by matching firms and individuals looking to exchange currencies.

Read more: Fintech star Transferwise is about to land a big backer from Silicon Valley

Transferwise revealed in May that it has been profitable since the start of 2017, an important milestone in its six-year history since starting in 2011. The firm claims customers transfer more than £1bn every month.

Strong demand from new investors meant the firm had decided to allow employees to sell some shares, according to Sky News.

The funding round, if successful, could confirm Transferwise as a tech unicorn, with a billion-dollar valuation. It would represent the second successful involvement for the Estonian founders in a billion-dollar company: both were early employees of internet telephone firm Skype, which was bought for £5.2bn by Microsoft in 2011.

Transferwise declined to comment.

Read more: Transferwise aims to kick off new fundraising to take its value above £1bn

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