London Fintech Wise Plans to Hire 100 at New Austin Office
London-based fintech company Wise recently hired 10 employees for its new Austin office, but that number could soon multiply exponentially.
Balazs Barna, the company’s head of U.S. engineering, told Built In that he expects to hire 100 people within the next year. In the next several years, he said the office could grow to 300 employees.
With projections like that, the cross-border payments company might soon outgrow its capacity at Industrious, a coworking space at 823 Congress Ave.
Wise plans to initially focus on recruiting product and engineering talent in Austin, but will eventually build a full-stack operation, including product management, software engineering, operations, sales and customer support teams.
Wise CTO Harsh Sinha said in a statement that Wise has seen significant growth among users in the U.S. and Canada, so the company wants to have a local, cross-functional team to “move swiftly” on behalf of its customers.
Wise, previously known as Transferwise, is a fintech company that wants to make cross-border transactions faster, cheaper and more convenient. With a Wise account, people and businesses can hold more than 50 currencies at the same time, while sending or spending money abroad at the real mid-market exchange rate, which is often significantly lower than the exchange rate offered by banks.
Last year, Wise’s technology was integrated into the Google Pay app allowing U.S. users to quickly send money to their friends and family in India and Singapore, with more countries to be announced in the future. Businesses can also use Wise’s technology through its integration with QuickBooks.
Wise can execute 45 percent of its international transfers in less than 20 seconds, which is considerably faster than the three- to five-day window offered by traditional banks.
Wise employs more than 3,000 people across 18 offices. In addition to Austin, Wise also has a New York office with about 40 employees and a Tampa Bay office with about 345 employees, most of which are in operations, customer service and customer verification, according to the company.
Barna, who oversees the new Austin office, moved to the U.S. earlier this year from Hungary, where he was able to integrate Wise’s software directly with the Hungarian banking sector’s instant payment system.
Instead of paying commercial bank fees to execute transfers on behalf of their customers, Wise is making an effort to allow fintech companies — not just commercial banks — to access government banks, which would allow them to pass lower rates on to their customers.
Barna said he felt empowered as an engineer to take the lead on integrating directly with Hungary’s central bank, and he believes the company’s bottom-up organizational culture will encourage other engineers to take initiative on projects that will improve the customer experience.
“We want to find the right product-market fit for the U.S., so we need the best engineers in the U.S. who understand the pain of ACH or the problems with the banking system,” Barna said. “We want people who are passionate about these problems and who want to solve it.”
Wise is offering European-style benefits to meet its ambitious hiring goals. The company offers a six-week paid sabbatical to employees who have been with the company for four years and 18 paid weeks of parental leave for employees that have been with the company for more than a year. The company also offers 25 days of paid time off, 11 bank holidays, 15 sick days and three personal wellness days per year.