Estonian fintech unicorn firm Transferwise has shortened its name to Wise, the company has announced.
The name change resulted from the company’s growth beyond its original incarnation as a secure money transfer platform, branching out into international banking and other services, the company says.
“For generations, banks have been defined by borders,” co-founder and CEO Kristo Kaarmann wrote on the company’s site. “Traditional bank accounts trap our money in one country, making international lives more difficult and expensive than they need to be. We shouldn’t have to accept this status quo.”
To remedy this, Wise will provide a debit card, accounts and other features in a multiplicity of international currencies, while retaining its instant money transfer facility, Kaarmann notes.
Wise was founded as Transferwise in 2011 by Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus, with offices initially in Tallinn later joined by London, where the company was headquartered, and other locations, including the United Arab Emirates. The company has around 10 million international customers at present, it says.
On opening in the U.K., the company’s marketing strategy included publicity shoots outside established high street banks, while in 2014, the company received the endorsement of, not to mention $25 million (c. EUR 21 million) investment from, Sir Richard Branson.
The company has been profitable since 2017, and reported net profits of GBP 10.3 million (EUR 11.6 million) in the fiscal year to March 2019. In September last year, the company reported GBP 302.6 million (around EUR 350 million) revenue for the preceding financial year, with net profits of GBP 21.3 million (EUR 25 million) over the same period.
Wise is one of five Estonian unicorns – meaning a company with a market value of 1 billion, in practice confined largely to tech firms (as of last year, Wise’s stood at a reported $5 billion, a little over EUR 4 billion) – along with ride-hailing and food ordering app Bolt, customer relations management software firm Pipedrive, gambling software maker Playtech and voice over internet protocol communications firm Skype. (ERR/Business World Magazine)