Get lifted like Transferwise
24. March 2017
It’s not a surprise that The Unicorn of the #EstonianMafia, Transferwise, is the one to look up to in many ways. We here at LIFT99 are lucky to have them as a partner. Read on to find out how they can be an inspiration to you too.
Why is Transferwise awesome
Transferwise allows individuals and companies to send money across borders with the smallest possible currency-exchange fee. This contrasts with the often severe charges banks levy for currency changes. Fees are kept low because Transferwise uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, the roots of which are in Skype, the company for which Transferwise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus used to work for. Essentially, your money transfer is matched at the other end, meaning fees are rock-bottom on both sides. It’s these low fees that businesses love in Transferwise, because the larger amount of money you send the bigger savings can be made.
Transferwise is also really easy to use, needing just a few clicks to open an account on their website. So individuals should give it a try too whether they are living or tarvelling abroad. For example, imagine you have moved to Canada but you need to send some money to your grandma in Estonia quarterly.
On top of this, the recent changes in the world’s most influential countries have sent global currency markets occasionally into turmoil. When money needs to be moved from one country to another, quickly, legally and safely, Transferwise is just the most convenient and trustworthy way of doing so. And for anyone who doesn’t trust new technology: Transferwise has been authorised by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority as well as many other regulators in different parts of the world.
It’s this that may well hightlight one of the few drawbacks to the fintech industry – the amount of red tape and bureaucracy. Every country’s government must approve a fintech app before it can be used in that country. This leads to time spent in negotiation with politicians and civil servants, yet this has the effect of sharpening pitching and presentation skills better than any number of venture capital approaches, so our advice is to take inspiration from Transferwise, and view time in approval as an opportunity for a fintech company to refine its approach.
How Transferwise lifts up its employees to create an awesome company culture, inspiring LIFT99 to follow its lead
Transferwise is growing at extraordinary speed and has over 700 employees already. Having said all this, it’s still well known for its great company culture.
Why? Because it hasn’t forgotten how to treat each member of a team as an individual. Go into one of Transferwise’s eight offices around the globe and you’ll notice that everything is designed and laid-out with the employee in mind. There are spaces that allow teams to collaborate in innovative ways, plus breakout rooms, colourful meeting rooms, and a fully-stocked kitchen that provides a positive reason for staff to stay in the office.
It’s not just about the physical environment though – it’s also about having confidence in staff to find solutions to problems for themselves. Kish, a designer at Transferwise, feels the company culture is getting the best out of him, according to the company’s website. “It’s the new way of doing things, versus the old way. It’s being able to say you’re doing it your way, it’s empowering instead of a top-down structure. It’s also about autonomous teams, like a startup within a startup.” Not only does this keep everyone interested in and inspired by their work, it means that everyone at Transferwise can see and feel how they are making a difference for the whole company.
Taking inspiration from the great company culture at Transferwise, we here at LIFT99 have fallen in love with community culture. Community culture is a different way of keeping people happy and productive. You’re working alongside other individuals and teams, all on different projects, so while you may employ a team of people, you’re also able to call upon the knowledge and experience of the other residents around you. Everyone shares meeting rooms, fun rooms, and the coffee machine, and desk space is rented out to teams large and small, plus individual freelancers who may work on two, three or more projects in their working day. In a community culture, the traditional team bonding get-together is replaced by smaller events that cost less money and foster an atmosphere of trust.
We’ve learned from our awesome partner, Transferwise, how to provide a working environment that lifts up everyone who takes advantage of it. We would like to thank Transferwise for being an awesome lead in so many ways, especially for the Estonian startup community, showing that with the right approach and plan, it’s possible to start anything in Estonia.
We welcome everyone to LIFT99 for a tour and along that have a look at our cool meeting room called Iceland (Powered by Transferwise).
In addition we will have some awesome events together with Transferwise. First one “How to scale your startup globally” will take place on April 7th.
Let’s swing together through the borders!