London-based online currency transfer outfit TransferWise has raised a $58 million Series C round that was led by Andreessen Horowitz. This follows a $25 million Series B round just seven months ago, which included Virgin chief Richard Branson and original backer Peter Thiel (who are also in the current round, along with Index Ventures, IA Ventures and Seedcamp.) Like CurrencyFair over in Ireland, TransferWise uses cash reserves in various countries to bypass the banks and offer conversion rates that are far cheaper than those offered by traditional banks and remittance services. According to the Financial Times, Andreessen Horowitz won a competitive bidding process to invest in TransferWise, which is now valued at “close to $1 billion”.
We’ve covered TransferWise quite a few times – along with one or two rivals such as CurrencyFair, the London-based financial technology startup offers a genuinely disruptive foreign exchange service that significantly undercuts the banks. Its backers apparently also continue to see great potential: having led TransferWise’s $6 million Series A round just over a year ago, PayPal(s ebay) co-founder Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures has again participated in the firm’s $25 million Series B, alongside Index Ventures, Virgin boss Richard Branson, IA Ventures, TAG, and Le Monde owner Xavier Niel. TransferWise, run by former Skype(s msft) director Taavet Hinrikus, says it will use the funds for marketing.
Clinkle claims it will invigorate the lackluster mobile payments market, though it still won’t tell us how. Former Netflix finance honcho Barry McCarthy, however, is confident enough in Clinkle’s plan to take over the COO role.
“Netflix for ebooks” Oyster launched on iPad and opened up to everybody Wednesday; previously it had only been available on iPhone. Rival service Scribd also released some stats showing that most of its use is coming from iPad.
The company has now facilitated over $400 million in international money transfers. And with new features such as a mobile app, payments to email addresses and an embeddable payment button, TransferWise is resembling a certain fintech giant ever more closely.
The $55 million funding round will help Lookout expand beyond the consumer market and into enterprise mobile security.
Though we may know little about mysterious mobile payments startup Clinkle, investors given a peek into its inner workings are seeing a lot to like. Sir Richard Branson has joined an already impressive group of backers.
A new way to compress air and use it as a form of energy storage is getting ever closer to the mainstream with startup SustainX. The tech could be important to pair with solar and wind farms.
I was skeptical that we’d ever see a Netflix for ebooks. Oyster’s launch on Thursday proved me wrong: It offers books that you’ve actually heard of, in a very well-designed app, for $9.95 per month.
Thiel becomes the second PayPal co-founder to put money into the UK’s Transferwise, which lets users send money internationally at much lower rates than those offered by traditional banks.