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Exclusive Interview with Transferwise VP of Growth Nilan Peiris Article

How did TransferWise start, and what made you want to join the company?

TransferWise started when our founders, Taavet and Kristo, realised how much money it costs to transfer money between the UK and Estonia. Taavet was based in London but paid in euros; Kristo worked in London but paid a mortgage in Estonia in euros. They figured out a fair way to exchange money between themselves, using the mid-market rate – without the mark-up rate and fees charged by the bank.

I joined TransferWise because I realised that the company not only had a great product, but also a vision of how to make finance fairer and the lives of its customers better.

Working at TransferWise, a company that has proved to be successful so quickly, how do you keep up the start-up mentality?

At transferwise we believe in hiring smart people and empowering them. We run in autonomous independent team, each focussed on a KPI that makes a difference to our customers and drives our growth. These teams are focussed on the drivers of our NPS.

What is your current business model, and how do you intend to continue to scale your growth?

Our model uses a peer-to-peer platform, so money doesn’t cross borders, which cuts out banking charges and reduces costs. We’re an online business so this allows us to keep our overheads down and pass on the savings to customers.

Banks and brokers have been overcharging for international money transfer for years – and our model is particularly low cost to run.

When someone says Fintech to you, what does that mean to you?

FinTech is about much more than financial technology; it’s about making customers’ lives better. We believe in Fairer Finance – the revolution where startups are rebuilding the banking sector by focussing on customers and building a new infrastructure that offers a dramatically better product to consumers than that offered by the current incumbents.

What are the plans for the next 6-18 months?

We’re expanding globally. We’ll be opening up more currency routes and further improving the user’s experience of transferring money abroad, with the longer-term aim of bringing fair, transparent overseas money transfer to everyone.

Thank you for agreeing to keynote at Apps World – what are you looking forward to get out of the show?

I’m looking forward to hearing from the FinTech companies that are making financial services faster, fairer and easier for ordinary people.


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