London-based fintech firm TransferWise has received a $25 million (£15 million) investment from Sir Richard Branson, PayPal founder Peter Thiel and a number of other institutions.
The funding comes after Thiel led a $6 million (£3.9 million) investment in the money transfer start-up last May and brings TransferWise’s total funding up to $33 million (£19.6 million), since the company was founded three-years-ago.
TransferWise uses peer-to-peer technology to cut the exchange fees charged by banks and brokers.
The company reached a significant landmark in April when it revealed that it had processed a £1 billion of customer's money through its platform.
Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “I’m delighted to be investing in such an innovative company as TransferWise. Financial services such as foreign exchange have been ripe for disruption for decades and it’s great to see TransferWise bring transparency to the market.
“It’s encouraging to see entrepreneurs using technology to reinvent the old-fashioned FX industry and make a real difference in the market. I see tremendous opportunity for startups like Transferwise to offer breakthrough financial services and products.”
TransferWise said the investment will go towards helping the company raise awareness of the hidden fees applied to overseas money transfers, among other things.
TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus said: “We’re going to use this money to lead the charge against hidden bank fees and expose the problem to a wider audience. It’s outrageous that they can get away with advertising that claims their transfers are ‘fee-free’ despite often taking up to five percent of the money sent through the exchange rate.”
Branson joined as a new investor but existing investors also participated, including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, IA Ventures, Index Ventures, TAG (Robin Klein and Saul Klein), and the owner of Le Monde Xavier Niel (via Kima Ventures).
The investment is further testament that London's fintech scene is one of the strongest in the world at the moment.