File transfer startup WeTransfer is announcing its first funding of US$25 million today, reports Dutch newspaper NRC.Next. The company, which so far had prided itself on being bootstrapped is raising the capital with Highland Capital Partners.
WeTransfer was founded in 2009 by Bas Beerens and Ronald Hans (also known as ‘Nalden’), as a better way to transfer large files. At that time most email clients could barely handle attachments of a couple of MB, let alone large images, movies or music. Beerens essentially set up WeTransfer to scratch his own itch. He worked in advertising and needed a way to send and receive large files from clients.
When WeTransfer launched there were already other file sending services. The best-known at the time was YouSendIt. The Dutch challenger broke with the American’s freemium model and offered their service completely free of charge. Beerens & team realised people using the service would be looking at a screen for a couple of seconds to minutes, while the file was uploading. This was their first avenue towards monetization, using the background screen for beautiful advertising. Since then they’ve managed to leave their original competitors behind.
By adding a professional version of WeTransfer, for corporate clients, the team managed to grow itself to profitability, without raising external funding. Basically WeTransfer turned into the posterchild of bootstrapping in the Netherlands – showing you could build a wildly successful startup, on a global scale, without large external funding. The team also prided itself on this independence, with co-founder Hans celebrating and explaining their success in a blog post close to their fourth anniversary.
Similar to other bootstrap success story Github the time has now come for WeTransfer to increase its pace. Today’s US$25 million in funding is meant to speed up its growth even further and properly conquer the world’s largest market for its service: the US. The round is being done with Highland Capital Partners, out of their dedicated Highland Europe Fund and values the company at EUR100 to 200 million. Highland typically acts as a growth stage VC, funding companies that are already beyond EUR10 million in revenues, placing WeTransfer right in their sweet spot.
In his 2013 blog post Hans stated WeTransfer had reached the level of 2 million transfers per day. In today’s NRC article co-founder Beerens stated they’re now at an incredible 50 transfers per second level (i.e. 4.3 million transfers per day). So, with WeTransfer paying Amazon AWS “a couple of Tesla models S’s […] every month” by the end of 2013, they might just be at a couple of Ferraris every month by now – while still being profitable.
Image by WeTransfer