Dutch startup WeTransfer has raised $US25 million in new funding to expand into the “US, Europe, and beyond.” It announced the news in a press release on Tuesday.
The Amsterdam-based company operates a cloud-based service that allows users to send large files just as securely and easily as email attachments.
Today, WeTransfer has 25 million active users who send 70 million files every month. Founder and CEO Bas Beerens said in a statement that the company has been profitable since 2013 and employs around 30 members of staff. It was set up in 2009, entirely on its own, and this is the first ever funding round for WeTransfer.
The $US25 million Series A funding round came from Highland Capital Partners Europe (HCPE), WeTransfer announces in the press release. According to TechCrunch, HCPE values the service between $US100 and $US200 million and now has a minority share in WeTransfer. HCPE partners Tony Zappalà and Irena Goldenberg will be joining WeTransfer’s board. TechCrunch says that sales have doubled in the last year. WeTransfer itself said in Dutch publication nu.nl that its annual revenue is as much as $US23 million.
The company describes the new funding as a “milestone” — indeed, it’s the first time it’s ever received investment of any kind. “The successful completion of fundraising is a new milestone for WeTransfer, providing the company with an injection of both capital and expertise,” the company says. “WeTransfer will use the investment to continue to innovate and develop its product and build the brand further across the US, Europe and beyond.”
CEO and founder Bas Beerens adds in a statement: “Funding isn’t something we proactively looked for, but having been approached by a significant number of investors from across the globe in the past two years, we realised there were bigger opportunities to grow as a service and a brand.”
WeTransfer is an obvious competitor to other file-sharing platforms such as DropBox, Hightail, and Box. As TechCrunch mentions, though, it’s slightly different to these — its interface is a more low-key, arty version that offers bold, creative wallpapers, no banner ads, and you don’t have to register to sign up.
The company actually “pays the bills,” it explains, through the wallpapers. Most of these are advertisements. “Next to all the creative work we like to feature, WeTransfer says, “we make our money with full screen ads.” There’s also a We Transfer Plus premium service, which offers additional features (like sending larger files, for example).
TechCrunch says some of WeTransfers advertisers are companies such as Google, Shutterstock, Vodafone, and Qatar Airlines — huge names. It also writes that some of the cash has already been used: WeTransfer sponsored an opening party at the Grammy’s this year, and is even working on a TV enterprise, though the details of this are thin at the moment.