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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: Hot 100 2015 – (31) World First UK

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Name: World First UK
Industry/sector: Financial and professional services
Date founded: 2004
The boss: Jonathan Quin
Location: London
Latest turnover: £6.2bn
Three-year compound growth rate (%): 49.27
Latest EBITDA: £7.9m

World First is the payments service provider that enables global money transfers. It started business back in April 2004, having been created in the basement of a house in Stockwell by Jonathan Quin and Nick Robinson.

Together they had a view that the way money was changed would be transformerd into a new direction. A year after launching and £43m worth of trades had been made and by October 2005 the £100m milestone had been reached.

The firm started with eight team members in January 2006 and the basement was left behind in favour of a Battersea location and former deputy head of the Bank of England David Clementi joined World First as a senior advisor.

The next year and the company had reached 22 members of staff and closed with 40, while transactions continued to surge to reach the £1bn mark. A new location overlooking the Thames was found in 2008 as business continued to grow and an office was opened in Sydney.

World First marked its tenth anniversary with 300 employees globally, while the new office can be found in the Millbank Tower.

As of 2015, the company boasts 76,000 employees while Clementi is now the chairman. Determined to continue making milestones, World First introduced what it called the “world’s first wearable international payment app” in March by launching for the Google-powered Android Wear smartwartch.

“This morning I made the world’s first international transfer from a wearable device in just a matter of seconds. Five taps and three swipes was all it took to book a fantastic rate to buy euros in real-time – though optional voice commands can be used by anyone fearing finger-fatigue,” Quin revealed.

“Some of our customers spend their lives thinking about exchange rates but others just want to get their transfer done as quickly, easily, and securely as possible, and without compromising on rates.”

The firm also gives back to charity and has donated £76,000 to the likes of Anthony Nolan, Help for Heroes and the RSPCA.

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