The Wise story
Wise started in 2011 when our founders, Taavet and Kristo, realised how much banks were ripping them off.
How it all began
Like a lot of good stories, this one starts with two friends (and they’re both from Estonia!)
Taavet was the first employee at Skype and got paid in euros. But he lived in London and needed pounds to pay the bills.
Kristo worked for Deloitte and lived in London. He got paid in pounds. But he had a mortgage back in Estonia. And he needed to pay that in euros.
Every month they moved their money abroad through banks. It was wasting them time and costing them money. So they invented a beautifully simple workaround that became a billion-dollar business.
They found a better way
Each month, they looked up the exchange rate on Reuters. Taavet then put his euros into Kristo’s Estonian bank account, and Kristo topped up Taavet’s UK bank account using his pounds. Both got the currency they needed almost instantly, and neither paid an extra cent through bad exchange rates or unreasonable charges.
There was no waiting, no stress, and no extra costs. ‘There must be others just like us…’ they thought. The rest is Wise.
Over 16 million happy customers now use Wise to move more than £9 billion a month, saving themselves £3 million a day compared to using a bank.
We’ve added the multi-currency account, which lets you hold 50+ currencies at once and convert them whenever you like, and the Wise debit Mastercard.
We now have over 5,000 people working in 17 countries across 4 continents. Apart from all that, not too much has changed.
We hire our first employee — Eva. She stays with us for 8 years.
Wise moves out of Kristo’s kitchen, and into our first London office. It’s in Clerkenwell. And it has no windows.
It’s less than 2 years since launch, and Wise is handling over £1m a day. It’s time to go mobile. Our first iOS app hits the App Store...and the Android app isn’t too far behind.
Big news - Sir Richard Branson invests in our vision. We move to our new office in London on City Road and install our first UK sauna.
Wise turns a profit and proves we are a sustainable business.
We welcome our 1000th Wiser. Seven years after our first employee, Eva, joined.
We double our number of global customers in just a year. That’s 4 million and counting.
We're now 2,000 people strong.
Valued at $5 billion, we've been profitable for four years in a row.
Wise became a publicly listed company.
There are now 3,000 Wisers across the world.
We now move £8 billion cross-border payments every month.
There are now 4,000 Wisers across the world.
We now have 5,000 Wisers.
We’re not done yet
We’re really just at the beginning of our story and we’re growing at an incredible pace. We won’t stop until anyone, anywhere can send, spend and receive money wherever they are, whatever they’re doing.
There’s still heaps to do and we can’t do it alone.
Stunts and mischief from the archives
More from the blog
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It’s bold and clean with shades of green. With international people, places, letters and symbols taking centre stage.
Q4 2022 Mission Update: Convenience
The key indicator that we’re offering a truly convenient product is your ability to use Wise without any hiccups.