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Updated: TransferWise gives away $100m free money transfers to startups

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TransferWise is offering 1,000 European startups $100,000 worth of free international money transfers

Using a peer-to-peer model, TransferWise allows users to bypass the banks and find the best foreign currency exchange and transfer rates.

Usually, TransferWise customers pay a small service charge to access the service, but for the 1,000 startups that join the new campaign, it will be entirely free.

Support from across Tech City

Already 25 prominent startups and organisations – including Richard Moross of Moo, serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu, Techstars’ Jon Bradford and Passion Capital‘s Eileen Burbidge – have lent their support to the campaign, which aims to help European startups save money and focus their resources on growing their business.  Other London supporters include Seedcamp, Mendeley, 3Beards, Funding Circle, Skimlinks and Wayra.

Sir Richard Branson has also lent his support to the campaign. He said: “This innovative idea for shaking up the financial services sector while helping startups in a practical way has caught the eye of many new businesses already, as well as established brands like Virgin.”

TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus hopes that free access to the TransferWise platform will stop startups “wasting money” on the bank charges they incur when they pay employees or suppliers abroad, attend international conferences or set up offices overseas.

“I remember all too well how depressing it was to throw away the precious little resources we had in the early days of Skype,” he explains. Hinrikus joined Skype in 2002, where he became director of Strategy until leaving Skype in 2008.

“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. Our technology and this campaign is my small way of doing that,” he says.

Startups interested in joining the campaign can claim a voucher for free transfers up to $100,000, and are being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

TransferWise supports currency transfers between Euro, British Pound, Polish Zloty, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian Krone. It also supports transfers from these currencies into US Dollars, and transfers from US Dollars to European currencies are coming soon.

The company was co-founded by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarmann in 2011.