Skype founder Niklas Zennström has thrown his weight behind Clerkenwell-based company Transferwise’s plans to provide European start-ups with $100m (£65m) of free international cash transfers.
Founded by Taavet Hinrikus, the first employee of Skype, the company will hand free international money transfers to 1,000 start-ups to demonstrate how small firms can save banking fees.
The brand proposition of the company is ‘Bye Bye banks, you’ve had your fun’ and the initiative has received backing from Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, Richard Moross, founder of MOO and investor Sherry Coutu amongst others.
Taavet Hinrikus, the co-founder of TransferWise, was Skype’s director of strategy until 2008, joining the original team in 2002. He said:
“I remember all too well how depressing it was to throw away the precious little resources we had in the early days of Skype. We didn’t have investment and were struggling – every pound and euro needed to count. Working between London, Tallinn and Stockholm, meant we were constantly wasting money on banking fees. It was important to me to do something about this for other startups when I got a chance – TransferWise’s technology and this campaign is my small way of doing that.”
Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, said:
“Any entrepreneur knows that it hurts to lose money. During the early days of Skype, just as we were getting started, we lost significant amounts of money when managing our scarce funds across multiple countries, banks and currencies. TransferWise has created a technology that makes it possible to dramatically reduce these everyday costs, yet the fact that they are giving it back to startups to use for free demonstrates a company united for the common good. Similar to how we enabled free calls with Skype.”
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