Wise PLC, a digital payments company, went public on Wednesday with a live listing on the London Stock Exchange, which was furiously set up by Cristo Kerman and Tofit Henriques on high cash transfer fees.
A decade after the company was founded, the two became one of the biggest winners from Wise PLC’s direct list of digital payment service providers in the UK.
The company began trading at 800 pence in London on Wednesday, and co-CEOs Kerman and Henriques issued $ 2 billion and $ 1 billion worth of shares, respectively.
Kerman and Henriques, both 40 and Estonian natives, started Wise a decade ago after moving to London. While working in the English capital, they became frustrated because banks charged high fees for remittances between the UK and their home country.
While the two were chatting one day they discovered that they were going to send and receive equal amounts in opposite directions and realized that they could arrange transfers between themselves, avoiding the banks altogether.
“We’re both tired of losing money to the banks,” Kerman said on WISE List Prospects.
Early supporters included Valar Ventures, an investment firm co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel and British investor Bailey Gifford.
“Coffee trailblazer. Social media ninja. Unapologetic web guru. Friendly music fan. Alcohol fanatic.”