The company started operations in 2016, focusing on cryptocurrencies, today other asset classes have been added; transactions worth more than 100 million euros are brokered every month. Kristjan Kangro, the founder and CEO of Change, sees that community is the key that differentiates them from their competitors. He compares “the Changemakers”, as they call their user base, to company advisers.
Wealth must not be a privilege
“We are very open with them by publishing statistics and listening carefully to their feedback. Through this, they contribute to the development of Change. The information they receive also contributes to the decisions we make. Be it regulations, new products being developed and markets to enter,” he described.
Kangro claims the company decided to focus on crypto trading because the team saw the huge growth potential of cryptocurrencies and, unlike many other asset classes, it raised a lot of interest from laypeople.
“We set ourselves the priority of being easily accessible and easy to use for anybody wanting to start out on their investment journey. This means very favourable trading costs, for example, with us you can invest in Bitcoin for free,” said Kangro.
Now the company has set itself new goals. They see that wealth should not be a privilege for the few and select, but an opportunity for all. Alongside investments, there is a new and unique app solution Growth Pocket which provides a competitive up to 7% annual percentage yield – available for every app user. The product selection of Change still includes one physical product: a VISA debit card that can be used to pay for products and services with cryptocurrency, valid in all businesses that accept cards. The card supports 40+ different cryptocurrencies.
The last two years have been globally turbulent but CEO of Change, Kristjan Kangro, says that this period has been a time of extensive growth for the company. The most moderate growth has been with new users, whose numbers have grown in the last year “merely” 160%.
A considerably larger percentage of growth was experienced in the volume of revenue from sales and trading, increasing respectively by 807% and 846%. In terms of figures, 1.13 billion euros worth of trading between different assets was carried out through Change last year.
“We are certain that the strength of Change is in our people – our team, the users of our app and our investors are the ones continually contributing hugely to our success story,” said Kangro.
From Singapore to Estonia and now back to Singapore
He sees that the success of any idea is tied to the team at hand. Kangro also acknowledges the importance of making mistakes along the way. To fuel their desire for a global expansion, Change recently opened an office in Singapore. One of the main reasons was its regulatory regime that enables Fintech innovation. Kangro sees that opening a hub in Singapore provides a future gateway to the global markets that are likely to drive cryptocurrency’s growth.
“Our new Singapore office is a huge step in our journey to become one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency investment platforms. Singapore is the natural next step for us outside of Europe. It is home to consumers who embrace financial innovation, and it has a surging cryptocurrency community,” said Kangro.
Singapore plays a big role for Kangro and Change, the idea for the app came to Kangro when he lived there years ago. Like many other entrepreneurs, Kangro started his journey at an early age. He was producing and selling mobile phone cases at 17. While studying in Holland, he co-founded SwingBy, a mobile-based platform for booking appointments with local service providers. By the age of 22, he had moved to Singapore to work as chief financial officer of the venture capital firm Expara.
Working at Expara, Kangro saw the direction banking was moving – a more digital future. Digital banking seemed to be a no-brainer, particularly in Southeast Asia where more than half of the population does not have access to financial services, but where smartphones are very common.
After Change’s initial start in Singapore, the European Union’s single financial regulation lured them back to Estonia. In the EU, you can offer your services to 500 million people with just one license, in Singapore the market is around 5 million.
Change’s valuation at the time of the round in June 2021 was about 175 million euros, so there is quite a way to go to reach the coveted unicorn status. Kangro has publicly said before that one of his greatest pleasures would be to ring the Nasdaq Bell while waving the Estonian flag.
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