Kristo Käärmann
Job Level

“I figured out quickly, it is very hard to fix really large companies on the inside, so I thought: Maybe we can compete with them.” After being a Management Consultant, Kristo Käärmann founded his own company, TransferWise. “We can make moving money from country to country really cheap, really fast and quite convenient for the users.”


Drei Ratschläge an Dein 14jähriges Ich!

Try not to waste any time. Try not to do things that are actually no good for you or no good for anyone in your future. Try to be as active as possible. Active like even a hard core partier is being active and it's very good thing to do rather than being lazy sitting around the couch watching TV. I think I did well on that. The other thing I would recommend is to go and study abroad at least for some time. This is something that I missed. I never studied abroad, I always studied in Estonia. You should try and find some time to study abroad and become a global citizen.

Was steht auf Deiner Visitenkarte?

So I started an international payment company called Transfer wise. My name is Kristo Kaermann. We've been running for three years. We saved our customers 15 million dollars in bank fees.

Was ist das coolste an Deinem Job?

Really the coolest part is that we have, in our service when you've used our service. We ask you to leave a comment. Tell other people how you, what your experience was. The coolest part is that I get an email everything someone leaves that comment.

Welche Einschränkungen bringt Dein Job mit sich?

We're going very fast. There are not many businesses who grow... The only businesses talk about a great success is when they grow 20% a year. This is very big when you're a listed company. We're growing 40 - 50% last month.

Worum geht es in Deinem Job?

So I'm one of the two guys to start with the company and I'm the CEO of the company today, we're 47 people running that service. What the company does is basically, you know how peer-to-peer lending works. So rather than getting a loan from the bank you could get a bunch of people together who lend money to other people. We use the similar idea for money transfers. Rather than you going to the bank to transfer money from your account, we could source the currency from people around us, as it's been like collaborative consumption and we use our customers to get the currency change so we can make moving money from country to country really cheap and really fast and actually quite convenient for the users. And my job is very exciting because it's changing massively pretty much every month. When I started and it was the two of us, we had to do everything. We had to pick up the phone when a customer called; we had to move the money. We still had to talk to the press, build the product. We were on the ground doing this 24 hours a day. The 24-hour aspect has been changed. Now we do much more about building the team to building the organization who can do it for us and becoming more of a designing the processes how that company works, how that platform works and then being the ambassadors to the rest of the world. Telling everyone like you today, how you can save money.

Wie sieht Dein Werdegang aus?

I started my life, I was born in Estonia. I was born in 1980. That was sort of coming to the end of the Soviet Era. My country was, my country became free in 1991 again. Since then we basically had to build up all the businesses from 1991 to today because of course from the Soviet times there is nothing left. So that was a very…I was a young boy but it was interesting to watch how, for example, the banks were built. You can imagine a country that has no banks and all of a sudden they start building banks and you're going to start building companies and design agencies and media parks and so on. This is a very exciting time for the country from 1990s to 2000s. I studied in Estonia in the National University from 16 to 31 and I studied mathematics and I studied computer science then went into biotechnology research which was very exciting that you can mess around with human genome and figure out relationships in human life and how human life has come about without actually seeing in to the past. And I started my first company when I was 19 years old. It failed miserably. We sold it for about 2000 Euros. It was all very exciting. In 2007 I moved to London working. I started working as a management consultant which means that you go to big boards of banks and insurers and other companies and you try to help them with running businesses, solving their business problems and it was also a very exciting time but I figured out quickly that you cannot really with these really large companies, it is very hard to fix them on the inside. So I thought maybe we can compete with them. Maybe we can become on the market, be much more efficient, much more effective, invent a totally new way how to move money around and do it on the outside. So that's how we started Transfer wise.

Ginge es auch ohne Deinem Werdegang?

You can definitely. I'm probably not the best person to do the job I'm doing. I'm sure there are other backgrounds that would have been more useful. Something, in order to start a company, the hustling, a bit of naivety, being brave about challenges and fair a bit of technical background is something that I think is a killing cocktail for starting a business.