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Tele Jane

A fast-growing Irish company has its sights on $100 billion in currency deals

Competition is heating up in the foreign-exchange trade.

FAST-GROWING IRISH FIN-TECH firm TransferMate has set its sights on handling $100 billion in clients’ currency transfers.

“I would say a target of $100 billion is achievable,” managing director and co-founder Barry Dowling said. ”When we hit that depends on how fast we can take on staff and how fast we can grow the business.”

The Kilkenny-based foreign exchange company today announced plans to hire another 25 workers in sales and business development jobs at its headquarters as it lifts its global workforce to 150.

It follows the firm hiring 25 people for its 24-hour call centre in Kilkenny between January and April this year.

Despite launching in only 2010, TransferMate has already set up offices across the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, and last summer it passed the milestone of processing $5 billion in foreign transfers.

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Dowling told he couldn’t reveal the exact numbers his company was targeting over the next three years, but the amounts it had handled so far were “a drop in the ocean compared to what’s out there”.

As long as 95% of businesses and individuals still us a bank, there is almost limitless potential in this market,” he said.

A crowded business

However TransferMate has been operating in an increasingly crowded segment of the fin-tech industry with rivals also rapidly expanding their operations and competing to undercut the banks in the massive global currency-exchange business.

It has been absent from the big investment announcements that competitors like UK-based TransferWise, which was valued at nearly $1 billion on its last funding round, have enjoyed.

Meanwhile CurrencyFair, another Ireland-based currency exchange firm, revealed last month it had taken on €10 million in funding and planned to take on another 50 staff within a year.

Barry Dowling TransferMate 2015 TransferMate co-founder Barry Dowling

Dowling said he “had to take his hat off” to competitors which had been very successful using social media to attract individual customers, but TransferMate was content to focus on business clients wielding larger sums.

I think if your business involves chasing individuals and wafer-thin margins on small amounts, then it doesn’t make sense … the person-to-person transfer market is big, but it’s probably easier to replicate and the barriers to entry are lower,” he said.

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