London-based fintech firm TransferWise led a naked march through New York’s financial district yesterday as part of a publicity stunt to mark the company’s arrival in the US.
The money-transfer startup, which recently bagged $58 million (£37.5 million) in a funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz, claims it is on a mission to disrupt some of banking's least transparent practices.
Over 200 people hired by TransferWise stripped down to their underwear during a busy lunchtime in Manhattan and marched through Wall Street.
The marketing prank was staged to highlight what TransferWise claims are the murky practices of financiers that impact billions of people the world over, including fees hidden on international money transfers.
Taavet Hinrikus, cofounder of TransferWise, said: "We wanted to show America that we're here to disrupt a banking system that isn't offering transparent or fair services a lot of the time, and that we're willing to get naked if that helps inform people about the issue! In the age of the sharing economy and game-changing services like Uber and AirBnb no industry should feel safe from disruption, least of all financial services. People shouldn't get ripped off, they deserve low fees, clear pricing and a fair deal.”
TransferWise is no stranger to mixing nudity and money transfers, albeit in more hospitable temperatures – the company’s proudly Estonian co-founders installed a sauna in their office in London.
TransferWise has attracted $91 million (£58.9 million) from some of the world’s leading investors. Most recently, this includes Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson and Peter Thiel.