I Had A Conversation With An Employee of Wise, and They’re Terrified of Revolut | by Al Anany | Aug, 2022

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

It’s still summer vibes; fingers crossed. What’s on my mind are pretty much the beach and volleyball. I turned off my business-interested mind. Yet, I am a human being. Hence, when a person starts talking about something interesting to me, I engage.

That happened around three weeks ago. The person sitting next to me started talking about life and work. Then she indicated that she worked at Wise, formerly known as TransferWise.

That person did not know she was speaking to a business consultant with a zest for entrepreneurship.

Anyone interested in business would be reading one day or another about a fintech endeavor. This industry just boomed beyond expectations. I’ve worked with a few clients working on Wise’s exact business model. So I shared my experiences as well.

I heard about TransferWise quite a long time ago. Hence, I know they’re pretty much in the established zone. Their commissions, compared to bank transfers, are unbelievable. You would have to blink a few times to confirm and believe.

I have studied their numbers quite well while working on a pitch deck for another client with the same business model who raised a $1m seed and has operations in the African region.

So then, as an average human social question, I ask, “How is it?”

She responds by saying how much she loves the company. She’s very fond of the traveling she gets to do with the company and the work-from-home policy. Yet, she was a little nervous about having to return to the office partially.

Then, as an opposing view, I told her how I have been a freelancer for around ten years and would love to have an office full of people to talk with while working (Instead, I am home alone writing this article while sometimes speaking to a few paintings I have.)

Then we moved on from the conversation, and she showed me her yellow Wise card. I thought it looked very cool. She also pitched some features while traveling abroad that I liked as well.

Thereby, I told her that I thought it was perfect. She has a job with an industry giant and is happy. Something that millions dream of achieving.

Then she said something that made me turn my head to look at her (it was small talk at that stage while staring at the road in front of us.)

She said, “Yeah, but Revolut is making it a challenge.”

I did hear of Revolut the first time I landed in Switzerland. They seemed to me like PayPal with a fancy card and low commissions. Then over the years, I did hear of their growth in numerous articles, specifically during covid times.

From our conversation, I understood Revolut is causing a frenzy at Wise. Yet, she tells me that Wise supports various currencies and countries. However, I’d never trust a statistic I hear quickly, especially from an employee there.

The ride ended, along with the conversation.

However, whether on vacation or not, my mind started asking questions.

“Is Revolut being more successful than Wise?”

“They are at least four years younger, they must be doing something right. Either that or Wise is doing something wrong.”

“Is this a case of Apple vs Microsoft but in the FinTech industry?”

“Or maybe Tesla vs everyone in the automobile industry?”

I first looked up the founding years. Whether anyone likes it or not, time is one of the best advantages of entrepreneurship. It allows entrepreneurs to make mistakes, learn from them, and develop.

  • Wise: January 2011
  • Revolut: July 2015

Alright, it is not a significant difference. For instance, it does not seem that long comparing Volkswagen (1937) with Tesla (2003). However, what a startup achieves in one year in our day and age is a lot more than back then. These are fast-moving times, and all startups know that for their growth.

Then I looked up the number of employees like the lady I just met.

  • Wise: 3,300 employees
  • Revolut: 5,000 employees (according to cryptonomist.ch)

Honestly, as market research is an essence of what I do for a living, I do not trust the above statistic of Revolut. It does not have strong credible backing.

Although, on LinkedIn:

  • Wise: 3,342 employees
  • Revolut: 5,342 employees

Again, while the numbers are inconclusive, as anyone could say they are working at Revolut on LinkedIn, it still shows that it is highly probable that Revolut has more employees than Wise.

What about currencies and countries of operation?

  • Wise: 50+ currencies, 80+ countries.
  • Revolut: 140+ currencies, 36 countries.

Then my mind automatically said that this was due to funding. So I looked up funding for both.

  • Wise: $1.3 Billion (Crunchbase)
  • Revolut: $1.7 Billion (Crunchbase)

Somehow, the investment consultants are doing a better job at Revolut. Do they have a revenue advantage while pitching, though?

  • Wise: £302 million (2020)
  • Revolut: £261 million (2020)

I am not very convinced at this stage. It sounds competitive, but I don’t understand why Wise would be terrified of Revolut.

Wise’s Website: “Types of payments we can’t accept
We never accept cash, cheques, or any cryptocurrency (crypto).
You can’t send money to a cryptocurrency platform.”

Revolut’s Website: “Go from cash to crypto, instantly.”

Then I started seeing things clearly and reaching a conclusion that could allow me to return to my summer adventures.

Revolut decided to accept cryptocurrency, which, while not the only factor, played an important role in putting them in the lead. So, hats off to their leadership for being there faster than Wise.

  • They refused to use the internet perfectly, so Apple went in and devoured them.
  • They refused to believe that electric vehicles were worth it, so Tesla climbed on top of them.

It does not matter whether you believe in investing in cryptocurrency. What matters is that if you do not acknowledge it, others will, and they will eclipse you.

I’m Al, a business consultant in Zurich, Switzerland. I believe in the power of delivering value to you, the reader. Follow me on various social media platforms if you’re interested in the value of my content.