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Currencycloud’s secret pipes are powering Europe’s billion-dollar FX businesses

By 24/10/2018June 4th, 2021No Comments

Mention the name Currencycloud to a fintech founder in Europe and you might get an uncomfortable response.

Mike Laven, the firm’s long-serving CEO, laughs when I tell him that.

The reason for the awkwardness—I suspect and Laven confirms—is that Currencycloud is powering the foreign exchange (FX) services of the vast majority of fintech businesses across the continent.

You might be a Travelex, Revolut, Azimo or Starling Bank customer—four companies jointly worth over $3 billion—but it’s Currencycloud that’s actually powering their movement of money across borders.

‚ÄúMaybe they don’t want someone to know that they’re not providing the infrastructure themselves, but I do think we’ve got beyond that for the most part,‚Äù Laven chuckles.

Indeed the CEO confirms that several of his clients insist on complete secrecy.

Over the last 11 years Currencycloud has become the Amazon AWS of foreign exchange, and by the end of 2018 over 350 companies will be using its services to build their own cross-border payments offerings.


This huge and growing volume of clients has triggered an extraordinary period of growth for Laven’s company, which has been around since 2007.

Forbes can reveal that the company’s 2017 financial results, due to be published later this week, will show revenue growth of 82% reaching £13.6 million ($17.7 million) last year.

The growth came as GV, Google’s venture arm, made its first fintech investment in Europe by leading Currencycloud’s £20 million ($25 million) Series D funding round.

Now for 2018 the company, which is still loss-making, expects to again double its revenues and Laven is confident that there’s much more room to grow.

Foreign exchange is a multi-trillion dollar industry, split between consumers and businesses sending money around the world, dominated by banks and brokers.

‚ÄúNow we’ve got the whole world of fintech, to the extent that they do cross-border, not everybody, but they all know us and many, many use us.‚Äù

The reason Currencycloud is so popular among fast-growing tech businesses isn’t just that it provides cheap cross-border payments—something Laven says has become “a commodity” in recent years—but that its platform can deal with the “messiness” of foreign exchange.

‚ÄúWe have quite a large flow from say Revolut, that comes through, and it’s really complex. It’s instructions, conversions, settlements, payments, none of it matches, it‚Äôs all different currencies, it comes at different times, but we sort that out.‚Äù

Another reason Laven has been so successful in capturing business is because of Currencycloud’s growing global coverage.

For example in the U.S., the single individual largest global market for cross-border transactions, his team spent years painstakingly securing individual licenses to operate in 49 states, giving it near-universal coverage.

Around the world Currencycloud offers transactions in 35 currencies across 212 countries.

But despite Currencycloud’s growth, the FX industry is still dominated by traditional banks—which Laven criticizes as “slow and inefficient”—managing 92.5% of cross-border payments globally, according to Juniper Research.

It’s a figure Laven hopes to chip away at by expanding outside of Europe, already this year 25% of his revenues are now coming from North America while Asia is growing quickly at 15%.

“If you think it’s about cheap FX, you can always get cheap FX, if you think it’s about payment routes, you can always find alternative routes. In the end what differentiates us from the banks is our platform and the technology.”