Enthusiasm is as high as ever in London’s P2P companies, as is the case with this trinational money transfer startup
With three offices in Dublin, London and down the road from Sydney in Newcastle, CurrencyFair is already at the top of its game. But early Thursday morning they stepped it up by announcing they’d grabbed another €8 million to invest in their company. The deal also adds a new CMO, Nils Andén. The round was led by UK-based Octopus Ventures with participation from Proxy Ventures and Frontline Ventures.
“Peer-to-peer currency exchange is approaching widespread adoption and now needs a more mature voice,” the startup’s CEO Brett Meyers declared in a press release. “We are the only true peer-to-peer currency exchange platform.”
The statement is a subjective one at best, assuming Meyers is defining his company’s business model differently than others in the P2P currency exchange industry. How companies define “peer-to-peer” varies as more institutional investors join in on P2P companies from lending to foreign exchange (not binary options, just to clarify). Those include fellow British companies Midpoint and WeSwap, Madrid-based Small World, and of course international British-Estonian startup superstar TransferWise, which reported passing more than £500 million in monthly transfers during the summer of 2015. CurrencyFair claims over $3 billion in transfers.
CurrencyFair was mentioned alongside TransferWise in a research report released this week called P2P: The Disruptive Potential. Beyond just P2P businesses, the money transfer industry is enormous, classically dominated by the likes of Western Union. But fintech startups are taking a greater slice of the pie, not to mention so-dubbed peer-to-peer outfits. Business Insider reports the World Bank estimated a colossal $583 billion was remitted around the world in 2014. The same BI report states “digital players are finding an opportunity to update the remittance model and gain a foothold in this industry by lowering overhead costs and passing savings on through lower fees.” TransferWise, for instance, has pushed a marketing campaign to put an end to hidden fees and claims a transparent low commission for its services.
Andén is coming into the company from major Eurpean digital gambling hub Unibet. Bucking the trend of uninteresting quotes in press releases, Andén says he sees some major similarities between online gambling and P2P currency exchange, based on his experience at Unibet. Why? He says there is a lot of hype around certain P2P companies similar to gambling sites about a decade ago.
“There are some rival companies in the industry to CurrencyFair making a lot of noise at the moment that have attracted early adopters away from the extortionate rates of the banks, but now it’s time for a more mature approach as more and more customers are realizing the benefits of switching away from the banks.”
The company maintains offices in the U.K., Ireland and Australia with 90 employees listed on their website. CurrencyFair was co-founded by CEO Brett Meyers, Director Sean Barrett and Director Jonathan Potter.