Founders of Transferwise Set to Sell First Shares as Forex Firm is Established as Fintech Unicorn

According to reports, the founders of Transferwise will sell a portion of their stakes in the forex start-up as part of a funding round that is valuing the fintech darling at $1.6bn (£1.2bn).

Sky News reports that Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus are set to sell small parts of their 40% ownership of the firm as a part of a Series E funding round.

Transferwise has already performed multiple funding rounds, raising over $100m in the process from a crowd of well-known venture capital funds including Baillie Gifford and prominent investors of Facebook Valar Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

A sale of a share would allow early employees to begin to crystallise some of the value that was created by the firm, which reduces foreign exchange fees by matching firms and individuals that are looking to exchange currencies.

In May, Transferwise revealed that the company has been profitable since the beginning of 2017, a significant milestone in its six-year history since launching in 2011. The firm claims that customers transfer over £1bn every month.

According to Sky News, solid demand from new investors meant that the firm had decided to enable employees to sell some shares.

If successful, the funding round could establish Transferwise as a tech unicorn, with a billion-dollar valuation. It would serve as the second successful involvement for the Estonian founders in a billion-dollar company. Both the founders were early employees of Skype, an internet telephone firm, which was acquired by Microsoft for £5.2bn in 2011.

Transferwise refused to comment.