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Taking on the might of PayPal: Riding the waves with Revolut

Having become an Everline Future 50 company in February 2016, and being named one of Britain’s most disruptive new businesses, Revolut’s founder and CEO, Nikolay Storonsky, explains his business and its success so far.
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The 50 most disruptive British businesses in 2016: The Everline Future 50

Posted by Octopus Group

(1) What does your business do?

Revolut is a global money app that allows you to exchange, transfer or spend money anywhere in the world without being charged exorbitant rates at the exchange bureaus and banks.

I set up the business in 2015. As a Russian ex-patriate living in London, I wanted to stop paying bank charges. I wanted to find a way to transfer and spend money quickly and easily abroad.

For every €500 you want to exchange, you will lose between €30-40. I wanted to create a solution that helps customers save money on the exchange rate and the transaction fee.

Our service is perfect for anyone who travels abroad and has a smartphone. The Revolut MasterCard® can be used over the counter in shops, hotels and restaurants. People can top up their Revolut account on their smartphones with money transferred from their bank account or via debit card.

Revolut also enables people to send money to other bank accounts or directly to other Revolut accounts at the interbank rate.

(2) What have been the key challenges for your business?

We have had one major challenges; recruiting strong, talented individuals for our team here. We needed to quickly build customer support systems and hire people for the team. Recruiting people with the right skills, attitude and temperament in a short period required a focussed dedication and effort. It was also important to integrate them into the business quickly to help the business meet its objectives.

By ensuring a strong team is in place and by working closely with our partners Paysafe and Barclays, we have generated promising results. In the first eleven months, we have gained, on average, 1,000 new customers a day and 205,000 customers in total. They have started using our service mainly through word of mouth. Initially our main focus will be on the UK and European market.

(3) What are your company’s biggest achievements to date?

We have been named one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in Europe and are growing more rapidly than any bank in the UK. Our competitors are in the money transfer and travel money space. They include traditional foreign exchange bureaus such as Travelex and Moneycorp, high street banks and money transfer services like Western Union. By enabling people to access and exchange money digitally on their mobiles, you build faster, more efficient and better value for access to global payments and transfers.

Meet some other 2016 Everline Future 50 companies:

(4) How can gaining recognition as a Future 50 winner help your business?

We have gained a good amount of PR coverage and social media recognition. It has been great for building brand awareness and helping us market our service and recruit new customers.

(5) Why do you think you won? 

We take a completely new approach to solving the problem of people being ripped off by the banks and exchange bureaus. As a result, we’re experiencing strong, exponential growth.

We make currency exchange simple. Money should be available globally across borders without hidden charges. We are removing the middle men that take your money for nothing in return.

(6) Which disruptive businesses outside of your industry do you admire and why?

It sounds like an obvious one, but Amazon is a fantastic brand which has revolutionised ecommerce. I often use Amazon to buy products – it’s useful, cheap and efficient.

(7) Fintech has been particularly successful this year. Looking to next year’s future 50, what do you think the standout tech sector will be?

There is a lot of hype about fintech, and most of it is understandable. It’s a no brainer that new services are being developed in this sector, as the financial services industry is incredibly inefficient. Many banks have barely changed the way they develop and deliver products and services at all since their inception so I think it’s likely that fintech will stay hot.

(8) What’s next for your business?

The next stage of our rapid growth will see us launching in additional currencies and languages. Following that we hope to launch in the US and Australia. We also want to expand business accounts and provide ecommerce as well.

An underground party unveiled the most innovative UK businesses of 2016.

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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