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Watch > Episode > Taavet Hinrikus - Revolutionising Finance with TransferWise

Taavet Hinrikus - Revolutionising Finance with TransferWise


Taavet Hinrikus is the co-founder of Transferwise, a peer-to-peer international money transfer business. He was the very first employee of Skype and their Director of Strategy until 2008. Transferwise has recently secured a $6 million investment round led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, and are already making major inroads towards digitally disrupting this highly established sector.

Born on February 10, 1981, Hinrikus has been a trailblazer in the fintech space, leveraging innovative solutions to address longstanding challenges in international money transfers. His journey reflects a commitment to efficiency, transparency, and empowering individuals to take control of their finances.

Taavet Hinrikus’ career took off when he became the first employee of Skype, the communication platform that revolutionised the way people connect globally. Hinrikus joined Skype in 2003, serving as the company’s Director of Strategy. His involvement with Skype not only introduced him to the tech landscape but also laid the groundwork for his future ventures.

Hinrikus co-founded TransferWise in 2011 with Kristo Käärmann, another financial industry professional. The idea behind TransferWise emerged from the personal experiences of Hinrikus and Käärmann, who faced challenges transferring money between their home countries due to unfavourable exchange rates and hidden fees charged by traditional banks.

TransferWise’s innovative approach disrupted the traditional banking model by employing a peer-to-peer system that matched users looking to exchange currencies. Instead of transferring money across borders, TransferWise ingeniously facilitated local transfers in each country, saving users from hefty fees associated with international money transfers.

The core principle of TransferWise was to provide a transparent and cost-effective alternative for currency exchange. The platform’s unique model allowed users to access the mid-market exchange rate, minimising the hidden fees typically associated with traditional banking.

TransferWise’s success was not only attributed to its transparent pricing model but also to its speed and ease of use. The platform gained popularity among individuals and businesses alike, fostering a community that valued efficiency and fairness in financial transactions.

Under Hinrikus’ leadership, TransferWise experienced rapid expansion, garnering widespread adoption globally. The company’s commitment to simplicity, transparency, and fair pricing resonated with users seeking an alternative to the traditional banking system. As a result, TransferWise became one of the most prominent fintech success stories, transforming the way people and businesses moved money across borders.

Taavet Hinrikus, through his co-founding role at TransferWise, has left an enduring impact on the fintech landscape. His vision for a fairer, more transparent financial system has inspired other entrepreneurs and shaped the conversation around the role of technology in redefining traditional banking norms.

Taavet Hinrikus’ journey from being the first employee of Skype to co-founding TransferWise exemplifies the transformative power of innovative ideas in the fintech space. His commitment to transparency, fairness, and efficiency has not only transformed currency exchange but has also inspired a broader conversation about the future of finance. As TransferWise continues to expand its services and influence, Taavet Hinrikus stands as a pioneer who has reshaped the way individuals and businesses interact with their finances on a global scale.


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