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Peter Thiel leads $6M funding round for TransferWise

The peer-to-peer online currency exchange, which seeks to use the Internet to make it easier to transfer funds among currencies, has transferred more than $195 million since its founding in 2011.

TransferWise, a London-based peer-to-peer currency exchange, announced Monday that it has closed a $6 million Series A funding round led by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures.

The investment in the company, which seeks to use the Internet to make it easier to transfer funds among currencies, marks Valar Ventures' first foray into Europe. Thiel, who was Facebook's first outside investor, was joined in the round by SV Angel and previous investors IA Ventures, Index, Seedcamp, and early stage investment firm TAG.

Coupled with a previous seed round, the recent investment brings TransferWise's funds raised to $7.3 million.

Since its launch in 2011, the startup founded by Taavet Hinrikus, Skype's first employee, has transferred more than 125 million pounds ($195 million), boasting that its model has saved its customers more than $8 million in bank fees.

"Innovation in the banking industry typically involves rent-seeking or unsound derivatives, which offer marginal benefits to consumers," Thiel said in a statement. "TransferWise demonstrates true innovation in banking by enabling its users to retain their wealth across borders."

The company currently transfers between the euro, British pound, Polish zloty, and Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian krone but said it hopes the funding will help it expand into additional currencies.

"Getting Peter and his team to join our current investors is a huge step for us," TransferWise wrote in a company blog post announcing the investment. "His experience from PayPal and as Facebook's first ever investor will help us navigate the challenges ahead as we build this global service."