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TransferWise valued at US$3.5b in secondary offering


TRANSFERWISE Ltd leapfrogged fintech startups, more than doubling its valuation to US$3.5 billion in a fund-raising round that pushes back the need for an initial public offering.

Funds managed by BlackRock Inc joined in the US$292 million investment round that was led by Lead Edge Capital, along with Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners, London-based TransferWise said in a statement on Tuesday. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford & Co, the Scottish investment manager, increased their stakes.

"Back in the old days, we would have been a public company by now," Taavet Hinrikus, TransferWise's co-founder and chairman, said. TransferWise might still go public someday, but the secondary offering brings the company potentially several more years until it would need to take that step, he said. The firm has more than five million users and handles more than £4 billion (S$7 billion) in payments every month.

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Its valuation increased from the US$1.6 billion in its November 2017 round, when it raised US$280 million. It has passed other fintech start-ups that have yet to go public, including Revolut Ltd, Germany's N26 GmbH and Swedish payment firm Klarna Bank AB. It is worth three times more than Funding Circle Ltd, another London-based startup that went public last year. BLOOMBERG