60-second start-up: WeSwap

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence

Simon: WeSwap harnesses the power of peer-to-peer and allows travellers to swap their currency directly with each other at the interbank rate for a transparent fee of just 1%, getting our users up to 10% more travel money.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?

Jared: Our business model is based around cutting out costs from the supply chain. WeSwap allows consumers to swap directly with one another, who can thereby avoid expensive bureaus who charge commission on top of the interbank rate. As a result, this brings down the cost of currency exchange and offers an unbeatable proposition to travellers.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?

Simon: WeSwap is unique. Travellers can access the currency they have swapped with a pre-paid MasterCard which they can use at the point of sale and when withdrawing from the ATM, all free of charge. Our nearest competitor is probably someone like CurrencyFair, although they are a money transfer business, aimed at people transferring large sums of money overseas and there is no pre-paid card system that allows you to access the cash at your destination.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?

Jared: Our USP is really that we can offer travellers the best possible rate on their foreign currency by cutting out the middleman – it’s as simple as that! We’re also unique in that we have our pre-paid MasterCard, which allows customers to access their cash anywhere completely free of charge.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?

Simon: WeSwap is backed by two super angel investors as well as a variety of smaller investors.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?

Simon: I was involved in an online business in the early 90s before becoming a Chartered Accountant. I have nearly twenty years’ experience advising entrepreneurial businesses (including a number of tech businesses) on corporate finance. Jared started out working as a city trader at large investment banks for five years, before moving on to work at the oil company Shell on the management of payment-related IT projects.

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?

Jared: As a duo, we spotted a gap in the market for a peer-to-peer travel money exchange service and were both frustrated by the huge rates banks and currency exchange bureaus were able to charge consumers.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?

Jared: Spotting a niche market to transform the way consumers exchange their foreign currency. We’ve removed barriers to make the process so much simpler for travellers and get them the very best rates so in that sense, it was a simple idea – but the most successful ones often are.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?

Simon: Starting a business can sometimes be the smartest and stupidest thing you ever do!

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?

Simon: WeSwap is based upon a social concept so I’d have to say a KitKat because you can share it with friends!  

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?

Simon: The wheel!

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?

Jared: In the long-term, we want to revolutionise the travel money exchange industry and to become the leaders in travel money across the world. Ultimately, we want to disrupt the currency exchange market and inspire a world where swapping money is the norm. Within 12 months’ time, our goal is to spread the word about WeSwap even more so, to educate travellers in this new way to exchange currency and to extend our reach to more countries to offer the WeSwap service.

 

To find out more about WeSwap, click here, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

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