PayPal co-founder Thiel invests in London start-up TransferWise

LONDON Mon May 13, 2013 8:14pm EDT

Peter Thiel, entrepreneur and co-founder of PayPal, speaks during a news conference on ''nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to economic research and innovative public policies for the 21st century'' at the National Press Club in Washington October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Peter Thiel, entrepreneur and co-founder of PayPal, speaks during a news conference on ''nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to economic research and innovative public policies for the 21st century'' at the National Press Club in Washington October 3, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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LONDON (Reuters) - London-based start-up TransferWise, a peer-to-peer international money transfer business, has secured an investment from Valar Ventures, the venture fund set up by PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel.

TransferWise, which launched in 2011, said Valar Ventures was leading a $6 million funding round, marking the U.S. fund's first investment in Europe.

TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus said having Thiel on board would enable the company to accelerate its expansion plans.

"This year we're aiming to add a dozen new currencies and launch the site in new markets including Germany, Spain, France, and Italy," he said on Tuesday

Hinrikus and his fellow founder Kristo Kaarmann realised they could exchange pounds and euros between themselves at the mid-market exchange rate, saving on the fees imposed by banks.

The business has now transferred more than 125 million pounds ($192 million) worth of customers' money, the company said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Potter)

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