Mycurrencytransfer.com opens new global outpost in Tel Aviv
By Suzi Dixon
Some companies are born out of a brilliant idea; some out of a perfect partnership; some out of a gap in the market; some out of a development in technology. MyCurrencyTransfer.com was born out of all four. As technology turns the financial sector on its head, this firm is going from strength to strength and, from humble beginnings in a London community incubator, they are now opening their first international office in Tel Aviv. Their foreign exchange comparison websites aim to help customers find a fairer, cheaper and more transparent deal on currency. It also puts the consumer firmly back in the driving seat, after years of being browbeaten by bank charges. Think Kayak for Currency. A democratisation of the money transfer space.
MyCurrencyTransfer.com, and its sister site MyTravelMoney.co.uk, was born out of a partnership and a passion for transparency and fair deals in international payments.
Co-founders Daniel Abrahams and Stevan Litobac are already award-winning and making waves in technology circles. They’ve identified a truly global problem – excess charges for currency exchange, particularly on large transfers and purchases – and come up with a fantastic website that makes it easy for anyone to beat the banks.
A cool fact about the co-founders? They met on a website matching technical to commercial entrepreneurs.
Daniel says Tel Aviv is the perfect location for their start-up’s first global outpost, offering the opportunity to work and network with some of the world’s most innovative firms.
“We’ve built a strong and highly motivated team, had a blast and extremely proud to have so far helped more than 1.2 million visitors find a fairer and cheaper deal on both travel money and international payments,” he said. “For us, it’s just the beginning.”
The firm first set up shop as mentioned in the TrainE-TraidE Finchley incubator. They then made the move to TechHub @ Google Campus in Old Street. “In Tel Aviv, we’ve set up shop at the awesome TechLoft co-working space,” Daniel said. “We want to be immersed in one of the most dynamic and successful startup hubs in the world. This small country, the size of New Jersey, is home to thousands of startups.”
Money transfer is a hot topic in the press at the moment, with the internet revolution taking finance firms to a whole new level. Technological innovation means a level playing field – young start-ups such as MyCurrencyTransfer.com CAN help democratise an otherwise opaque space, where individuals and businesses are getting short changed through poor rates & a complicated service.. It’s all down to educating the public. As much as £50 can be saved on a £500 travel money order, which makes all the difference to families who want their holiday money to stretch further in these tight economic times. Customers don’t have to have a financial background to get the best deals – they just need to see through misleading travel money advertising and focus on the rates.
“We would love to see the industry at large introduce the concept of ‘Interbank + pricing’, and make it fully visible to the customer,” Daniel said. “Whether you use a company that builds profit into the exchange rate or its service cost, it is only fair and right that the consumer knows whether they are getting a good deal or not.
“In our opinion, banks still hold a huge market share due to customer inertia and a lack of awareness that other non-bank foreign exchange companies exist. They are enjoying horror-story interbank + pricing of 3-5%. That means customers using banks for international money transfers are losing 3-5% of their money unnecessarily.”
“The real winners will be companies that genuinely open up their pricing structures, embrace transparency and aren’t afraid to display service costs.”
Daniel and Stevan initially moved to Tel Aviv in April for three months. It’s the fifth most visited city in the Middle East, with 2.5million visitors a year, and is known as the ‘city that never sleeps’.
As well as housing a lot of technology start-ups, Tel Aviv is also a property developers dream, with lots of rundown areas now being snapped up and made over. There are 400 notable Bauhaus buildings (collectively known as ‘The White City’ – an official UNESCO World Heritage Site) and nearly 500 working synagogues. Boutique hotels are opening every day and the fashion world is drawn to its cosmopolitan cafes and bars in the city centre.
Daniel and the team are now firmly settled and have made some interesting discoveries in their first few months in Tel Aviv that will be helpful to expats or travellers.
“The local food is exceptionally fresh, the city is buzzing & we simply love the outdoor culture,” Daniel said. “Whether you want to take a run along the beach promenade, relax at a local coffee shop or go wild at night, you can be whatever you want in Tel Aviv.”
“Although the city is listed as the 31st most expensive in the world, flights aren’t overly expensive from the UK. Tel Avivis are a friendly bunch and the city is surprisingly safe at night making it a great destination for female or solo travellers.”
Certainly, it seems the youthful vibrancy of Tel Aviv is the perfect match for a youthful, vibrant company with a mission to make travel money and international transfers more transparent. With a growing team in London and in Tel Aviv, MyCurrencyTransfer is now entering an exciting phase – from start-up to global business, they are taking their passion for banking transparency to another country and another level.
“We firmly believe that the best products and ideas evolve from building a team with similar ambitious goals visions,” Daniel said. “Whilst we all have our own differing views on the path to achieving that vision, spending close time together in a fresh environment will no doubt spark and stimulate exciting ideas.
“Tel Aviv will give us much needed laser focus on achieving our product development sprints, utilizing and leveraging off an amazing community and their experiences to help sprinkle some stardust to our plans.”