Kristo Käärmann is the co-founder of TransferWise, a peer-to-peer international money transfer business. The business is the first of its kind: it allows regular people to access the real mid-market exchange rate by cutting out traditional banking fees altogether. It charges only a tiny, totally transparent service charge.
Prior to starting TransferWise, Kristo was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He worked with European banks and insurers to modernise their processes and systems. Stunned by their inefficiency, he teamed up with Taavet Hinrikus, then Skype's director of strategy, to develop an entirely new system for moving money across borders.
Kristo started his first business, an online investments tracking portal Investor.ee in 1999, when he was 19. Although the service was popular at the time, it never turned a profit and was acquired a few years later for an undisclosed amount (read: very little).
Kristo is also involved in the organisation of Young Scholar Grant, where grants are given out to the brightest prospective university students of Estonia to study abroad in Europe’s best universities.