Silicon Valley giant grows stake in UK fintech star TransferWise

One of the early backers of Facebook is increasing its stake in TransferWise, a British financial technology pioneer, in a move that will be hailed as a vote of confidence in UK start-ups.

Sky News has learnt that Andreessen Horowitz, a prominent name in Silicon Valley, has agreed to buy a chunk of shares held by TransferWise’s initial ‘angel’ investors.

Andreessen is said to have agreed to the purchases in recent weeks at a valuation broadly consistent with TransferWise’s last major fundraising in May 2016, according to people close to the situation.

Founded by two former Skype employees, TransferWise has grown rapidly since its launch, and now acts as a conduit for hundreds of millions of pounds of currency transfers every month.

It provides exchange rates to users which are more competitive than most traditional competitors by using an element of peer-to-peer funding to cut costs.

Instead of actually converting money, TransferWise pairs users wanting to buy a currency with those wanting to sell it, enabling them to save on often-costly fees.

The company has embarked on an aggressive international expansion, backed by investors including Sir Richard Branson and Baillie Gifford, the Edinburgh-based fund manager.

TransferWise’s expansion has seen it launch into markets including China and Sri Lanka, while it has also signed a partnership with Number26, a start-up which enables users to open a bank account within eight minutes.

Its growth has not, however, been untroubled.

The company was fined by US authorities for operating without the correct licence, and it was forced to modify its advertising claims in the UK.

Nevertheless, it is one of relatively few British technology companies to have achieved so-called unicorn status, meaning it is valued at more than $1bn (£800m).


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Source: Silicon Valley giant grows stake in UK fintech star TransferWise – Yahoo!News