Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder of TransferWise and part of the original team that developed Skype, has a message for European start-ups:
Stop wasting money on international money transfers.
Whether it's paying for goods and services rendered abroad, traveling to attend a conference overseas, or securing capital from international investors, start-ups can burn through a lot of money just dealing with transferring from one currency to another.
Through his new initiative, Hinrikus looks to both raise awareness of the potential cost-savings of services like his TransferWise, as well as make international cash transfers more than a little easier for the first 1,000 start-ups who sign on to his campaign.
Specifically, Hinrikus will give 1,000 EU start-ups vouchers to cover up to $100,000 in international money transfer fees. What's this worth? For one example, a start-up company that sent €50,000 to a recipient seeking pounds could save almost €250. This is in addition to the savings TransferWise provides users of its service by way of its more competitive, P2P-based exchange rate.
The savings, Hinrikus hopes, will allow these small companies to focus on growing their businesses, and less on how much money is being wasted on money transfer fees.
Hinrikus's move has attracted the support of technology notables like Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype. Sir Richard Branson has also weighed in with his support, referring to the campaign as a "way of making start-ups truly international."
Start-ups interested in participating in the program have until May 10, 2013 to get in touch with TransferWise. More information is available here.
TransferWise supports currency transfers in a number of European currencies such as the Euro, the British Pound, the Polish Zloty, and the Danish, Swedish and Norweigian Krone. Each of these currencies may also be converted into U.S. dollars.
TransferWise was one of the companies that presented their currency transfer technology during FinovateEurope in February 2013. See TransferWise's demo here.