Shares in Wise surged as much as 14 per cent today, after the money transfer fintech said this morning that its first half revenue jumped by a third to £256.3m, driven by increasing customer numbers as it invested in faster transaction processes.
The company, which specialises in cross-border money transfers and is one of the UK’s most well-known fintech “unicorns”, said revenue hit £256.3m in the first half of its financial year, a 33 per cent leap from the same period last year.
Wise said this had been driven by an increase in its money transfer customers, attracted to its faster services, following investment in its infrastructure.
In its first interim results since its blockbuster £8bn debut on the London Stock Exchange in July, Wise said it expanded its customer base in the six months to 30 September, during which time 3.9 million customers transferred over £34bn – up 44 per cent on the same period last year.
Meanwhile, its personal customer and business customer volumes grew by 39 per cent and 61 per cent to £25.9bn and £8.5bn respectively.
An increase in Wise account holders’ customer balances also helped drive growth, rising 33 per cent to almost £5bn, up from £3.7bn six months earlier.
Adjusted EBITDA reached £60.6m, up 20 per cent from £50.6m a year earlier, but the fintech’s profit before tax retreated to £18.8m, down 6 per cent from £20m in the same period last year.
This was predominantly driven by operating costs such as its outscourced services, which more than doubled to £58.3m in the six months to 30 September, owing to the outgoings associated with its IPO in London, and its 32 per cent increase in its workforce over the past year to 3000.
This investment also drove losses up to £4.4m in the first half, up from £0.5m a year earlier.
In the last three months, it said 40 per cent of the money transfers made on its platform were instant, 58 per cent were delivered in under an hour, and 86 per cent arrived in under 24 hours.
But its “take rate” – the percentage of money being transferred over its platform that it books as revenue – fell to 0.75 per cent from 0.81 per cent a year earlier, which the company said was largely due to its price drop strategy, which saw the average price its customers pay for transfers fall by 0.62 per cent.
Looking ahead to the full year, Wise upgraded its outlook and said it now expects annual revenue growth of mid-to-high 20 per cent, up from the low-to-mid 20 per cent it had forecast in October.
“Over the first half of this year we’ve improved our products and engineered away substantial points of friction in the payments process, enabling us to sustainably lower prices while continuing to invest in growing the business for the long term,” said co-founder and CEO Kristo Käärmann.
“So a virtuous circle of investment continues, and our service gets faster, better and cheaper than ever for our personal and business customers.”
The company also said it’s planning to hire more than 1000 people next year.
Earlier this year, Wise’s London Stock Exchange debut valuation of £8bn made it the city’s biggest-ever tech float, marking a major boost for the capital’s tech scene.