#StartUpSelfie #26

So many similarities me and Triin from Tehnopol have, it was an amazing meet-up and conversation. As I mentioned, she is also very good at networking as she introduced me to the next guests for #StartUpSelfie. Before my arrival in Tallinn, I was trying to schedule a meeting with the co-founder of TransferWise, but unfortunately at that time Kristo Käärmann was in London. But, it was just my luck, that the guys Triin introduced me to are actually part of the team in Transferwise.

TransferWise is the startup that enables people to transfer money between countries in a new and inexpensive way. As they say “Sending money abroad is deceptively expensive, thanks to the hidden fees we’ve all been forced to pay. Now TransferWise lets expats, foreign students and businesses move money wherever it’s needed, at the lowest possible cost. No hidden fees, no headache”. My guests are young, very ambitious and ready to make a revolution in FinTech.

Let me introduce you to Rait Arro who is the Product Manager and Vitalii Lakusta who is responsible for Global Partnerships and is a Software Engineer too. How their journey begun? Let’s find out:

“Started my own startup 2 years ago, it was a mobile app – therapist for depression, where we  focused on the US market, but then that business model wasn’t sustainable. After that  I got an opportunity to join the Transferwise team and I am very happy that I grabbed this opportunity. The platform has been very supportive and on a daily basis I collaborate with very engaged people. For example, we were part of one hackhaton where now my colleague Vitalii was part of the wining team, so we scouted him and got him on board. Through Transferwise we want to give back to the community as well and I do believe we are on a good track. We have very product-minded approach and even though we are starting to function as a corporation, we still have the startup spirit. In every division, there’s a mini team of 5-6 people, responsible for their product and it’s development. There is always room for testing ‘new waters’, sharing ideas and gathering a new team that will work on that idea, after it has been validated.” – says Rait.

Vitalli is an exchange student, that entered the second round of a TransferWise hackahton and with his team won the challenge. As a prize he was able to go to London and meet the founders. From that meeting, he knew that he wanted to join the team.

“At that time I had two options, to find a job and stay in Estonia, or to go back to Ukraine and start a business. Since my visa was expiring, I needed to pass through 5 interviews to join TransferWise, in just one day. It was exhausting, but so worth it. I am the youngest engineer in the team and I would suggest to any student, during their studies to join a startup, because it will be the experience of their life. Always be proactive, take actions and execute on ideas. Train your eye on how to recognize problems worth solving. Always ask why and try to see how you can turn it into a solution. At TransferWise we have a very cool working atmosphere, we have regular physical meetings with the team, very creative working space, we are super honest with each-others and always addressing the ‘elephant in the room’. I believe that this is the way to build a great company culture. And our motto is No Drama-Good Karma”. – said Vitalli.

It was almost closing time for Garage48 HUB where we were situated for this meet-up, so I asked them if they want to share some advice to anyone that wants to join a startup, so Rait said:

“Believe in the mission. I do not stay at a job where I don’t believe in the mission. Here I feel and I know that I’m part of something that is greater, larger than life, when you see what you have built and how you can influence peoples lives, for the better.”

So thrilled to have met these guys, it was a real pleasure talking to them and hearing their story as well learning more about TransferWise. I wish them success in expanding to many more new countries and currencies and I invite you to join the revolution with TransferWise.

This was the last story from my journey in meeting the #EstonianMafia, hopefully many more to come, next time I visit Tallinn.
New #StartUpSelfie is coming very very soon. Sign up via e-mail to check out who’s my next guest.

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