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.

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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.

A memory wall of the Wise story so far
Founders of Wise, Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus

Wise today

Over 10 million happy customers now use Wise to move more than £5 billion a month, saving themselves £3 million a day compared to using a bank.

We’ve added the borderless account, which lets you hold 50+ currencies at once and convert them whenever you like, and the Wise debit Mastercard.

We now have over 2,400 people working in 17 locations, across 4 continents. Apart from all that, not too much has changed.

Line graph showing the growth of Wise employees from 2 people in 2010 to over 2000 people in 2019

Our timeline

  • February 2011

    We hire our first employee — Eva. She stays with us for 8 years.

  • January 2012

    Wise moves out of Kristo’s kitchen, and into our first London office. It’s in Clerkenwell. And it has no windows.

  • 2012

    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.

  • 2014

    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.

  • May 2017

    Wise turns a profit and proves we are a sustainable business.

  • January 2018

    We welcome our 1000th Wiser. Seven years after our first employee, Eva, joined.

  • September 2018

    We double our number of global customers in just a year. That’s 4 million and counting.

  • December 2019

    We're now 2000 people strong!

  • July 2020

    Valued at $5 billion, we've been profitable for four years in a row!

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.

Join us.

The whole Wise team together at a company event

Stunts and mischief from the archives

Wise publicity stunt called RIP hidden fees
Wise publicity stunt with people protesting against hidden fees
Wise publicity stunt: a pillow fight
A throwback image of the Wise founders Kristo and Taavet
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