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IDCEE 2013: Can a tech startup eat the bankers' lunch? - Kristo Käärmann (Co-founder @ TransferWise)


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Kristo Kaarmann is the co-founder of TransferWise, the international money transfer platform. The business allows regular people to access the real mid-market exchange rate by cutting out traditional banking fees altogether. It charges only a tiny, totally transparent service charge.
In the two years since it launched, the business has transferred over £125m worth of customer money and has attracted $7.35m from investors such as Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, co-founders of PayPal.

Prior to starting TransferWise, Kristo was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He worked with European banks and insurers to modernise their processes and systems. Stunned by their inefficiency, he teamed up with Taavet Hinrikus, then Skype's director of strategy, to develop an entirely new system for moving money across borders.
At TransferWise, Kristo is in charge of operations, development, and compliance.

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IDCEE 2013: Can a tech startup eat the bankers' lunch? - Kristo Käärmann (Co-founder @ TransferWise)

  1. 1. Startups re-inventing banking Kristo Käärmann
  2. 2. Computing in 2020? ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  3. 3. News in 2020? ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  4. 4. Money in 2020? ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  5. 5. Money in 2020? ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  6. 6. Why banking?  Banking is already a tech business  It is complicated but not hard  Opportunity is enormous $$$  People know not to like banks ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  7. 7. How to transfer money unwisely?    $30 + 3% $100bn+ yearly = 70% of ukraine GDP takes 5 days !? ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  8. 8. How did we tackle the problem  Idea: crowdsource currency − − saved $15 million in bank fees − raised $7.3 million – Peter Thiel, Index, IA −  launched in January 2011 team of 45: London, Estonia, Ukraine Objective: make a $100bn business into a $10bn business ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann 30x
  9. 9. Lessons learned: trust Earning trust online is possible ... ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  10. 10. Lessons learned: trust … but it is sooo hard! − earn 11 out of 10 with every interaction − social proof: customers, investors − look and sound professional ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  11. 11. Lessons learned: customers  Biggest asset for a startup −  Recommendation from a friend 10x better chances to success than advertising As a founder or exec you have to speak with them routinely ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  12. 12. Lessons learned: speed  Your only edge and best defence  The only focus is speed of growth  Fight the forces that slow you down ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  13. 13. Innovating finance – a checklist  People hate their current product?  Your solution is 10x better?  Plan how to get customers  Focus on trust and experience  Be faster than the incumbents ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann
  14. 14. We imagine a world where you can send money across the world instantly for a low cost. Anything is possible. ICDEE Kyiv 2013 - @kaarmann