Transfergo: the startup founded by migrants for migrants

A team of migrant entrepreneurs are expanding their money transfer startup to target blue-collar workers from the Baltics and Eastern Europe who have used the opening of Europe's borders to settle in the UK and around the EU.

TransferGo, a low-cost international money transfer business founded by four Lithuanians, uses peer-to-peer blockchain technology to allow European migrants based in the UK to transfer their money to 33 European host countries with smaller fees and faster transaction times than banks and other financial transfer services, such as Western Union or TransferWise.

The company, which already boasts a client base of 70,000 customers, used Eastern Europe as a proof of concept, says Yannis Karagiannidis, the company's head of growth and himself a Greek migrant who studied at Britain's Warwick University. Karagiannidis admits that the opening of EU's borders to countries such as Romania and Bulgaria has offered TransferGo a new and lucrative market to exploit, with their operation in Romania opening in the past month.

"We have seen over 100,000 Romanians migrating to the UK in the last couple of years. This is an opportunity for us," he says. "Also Romanians in Spain and Romanians in Italy, so we are going to build these corridors now." The startup's target audience is predominantly migrant families who wish to send money home to their relatives, foreign students who need to transfer money for tuition fees and businesses operating in various EU countries.

The company last week passed the €89.9m ($100m) mark in processed transfers in just over two years and is now experiencing average growth of 20% a month. "We are the fastest growing company in that sector, so everything looks good and promising so far," Karagiannidis beams.

The TransferGo team launched in 2012 with an office in Vilnius, before opening the company's headquarters at the Level 39 fintech accelerator in London a year later.

Transfergo: the startup founded by migrants for migrants |