Peter Thiel-Backed Unicorn TransferWise Posts Record Profits

TransferWise, one of Europe’s top five FinTech startups, announced profits for the third fiscal year in a row, with revenue after taxes 66 percent higher than last fiscal year, CNBC reported on Wednesday (Sept. 18).

The London-based firm, backed by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Sir Richard Branson, said it recorded GBP179 million ($223 million) of revenue for the fiscal year ending March 2019, up from GBP117 ($146 million) the previous year. Net profit was GBP10.3 million pounds ($12.8 million).

The FinTech unicorn was valued at $3.5 billion during a May funding round.

TransferWise has altered the cross-border remittance industry by letting users send money for lower fees than banks and other money transfer companies like MoneyGram and WesternUnion, the report said.

Founded in 2011 by Estonian friends Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann, the firm set out to make foreign exchange fees more transparent.

TransferWise CEO Kaarmann told CNBC the company was in the class of those “rare breed of unicorns” that have consistently turned a profit.

“This is indeed rare but it is very important for us internally,” Kaarmann told the news outlet in a phone interview. “We really only know if the product works once the product works on its own and doesn’t need any extra cash to support it.”

TransferWise raised $292 million this spring in a funding round led by Lead Edge Capital, Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners. Other participants included existing investors Baillie Gifford, BlackRock and Andreessen Horowitz. Investors who took part in previous rounds of funding include Sir Richard Branson, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. TransferWise has so far raised $689 million in venture funding.

The cross-border FinTech allows payments such as bank transfers, debit cards, and credit cards, and offers an alternative to conducting business with a bank. It’s among a crop of FinTechs that are disrupting the financial services sector, providing a way to do everything faster, cheaper and easier.