London-based peer-to-peer travel money startup WeSwap has raised £6.5 million ($8.4 million).
Boutique investment firm Ascot Capital Partners led the round while existing investors EC1 Capital and IW Capital took part in the deal.
The funding round was announced on the same day as rival travel money startup Revolut confirmed a near identical funding raise, bagging £6.75 million from venture capitalists. The two deals show that the market funding for fintech — financial technology — startups is still alive in the wake of the UK’s surprise decision to leave the European Union.
David Page, CEO of Ascot, says in an emailed statement:
“The UK has always been, and will continue to be, a world-class financial services and technology hub with world-class resources and assets: including talent, innovation, legal framework and a supportive government. There will be a period of EU negotiations over the next two years but we can be sure the UK will remain at the forefront of global innovation and entrepreneurship.
“WeSwap is continually striving to bring transparency and value to the travel money market through our swapping platform — this will continue no matter the status of EU membership.”
WeSwap’s platform lets people exchange money directly with other travellers looking to buy the corresponding currency. WeSwap takes a 1% cut of exchanges, but this is typically much lower than the rates charged by foreign exchange brokers. WeSwap also provides a prepaid card linked to its app that allows people to spend their travel money abroad.
WeSwap cofounder and CEO Jared Jesner says in an emailed statement:
“This year we have seen thousands of users swap millions of pounds each month. Our strong focus on building a sustainable, profitable business has enabled this funding despite the uncertain climate.”
WeSwap, founded in 2013, supports 10 currencies and lets people from 18 countries exchange money over its platform. Jesner worked as a currency trader at JP Morgan and Dresdner Kleinwort prior to setting the business up.
“The funding enables us to develop exciting new products, expand into new markets and continue to bring new features to our core product — all designed to help our users to stress less and travel happy.”
WeSwap ran into trouble with its tube advertising campaign last year, which was branded sexist for suggesting men would want to swap their wives for a Swedish model or French maid.
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