Breakfast with World First CEO Jonathan Quin

Innovate Finance
2 min readFeb 20, 2017

Janine Hirt, our Ecosystem Director, and myself had the pleasure of having breakfast with Jonathan Quin, the CEO of World First, one of Innovate Finance’s newest members, and of the UK oldest and most successful FinTechs.

Launched from a Stockwell basement in 2004 by Jonathan Quin and Nick Robinson, World First set out to make cross-border currency payments faster, easier and cheaper for consumers and businesses. By 2005 they had processed $100M of transactions with a team of 8, 7 of whom still work for the firm today!

Fast forward to 2017 and World First employs over 620 people across the world from Westminster to Hong Kong. In their short history, they’ve processed over $45 billion of currency transactions across 137 countries, and is one of the fastest-growing foreign exchange brokers around. The proposition is simple; offer individuals, online sellers and small companies’ a combination of excellent service and highly competitive foreign exchange rates.

World First is one of Amazon’s partners for processing payments in China, and the firm is focused on further growth across Asia. Singapore is up and running, India a coming-very-soon project and expect greater in-roads into China now that the company has been granted permission to operate as a Wholly Owned Foreign Entity — an important move for firms seeking to scale to China.

CEO Jonathan Quin says “As one of the first companies to use technology to make a financial service more accessible, it’s been great to see mainstream acceptance of FinTech over the past decade.

Right now, our goal is to keep innovating and developing new products that address the changing needs and behaviours of our increasingly global customers. Later this year, we’ll be launching a new product which we feel will do just that and offer real value to businesses making international transfers”.

In addition, they are community players! Marca Wosoba, Head of International Development at World First has been doing advocacy work around the FinTech industry’s access to talent, a regular lobbying topic for Innovate Finance with the UK government. Her proposal to DIT is that every STEM Visa the UK issues must be matched with a UK apprentice — we love this and will seek to help support moving forward!

World First is another great example of why I love UK FinTech. A true pioneer, they may have slipped under your radar until now. The team have quietly, confidently and organically built one of the UK’s most successful global FinTech companies, all privately funded without venture capital.

Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO Innovate Finance



Innovate Finance

Innovate Finance is a convening voice for the UK FinTech industry, providing a single point of access for key industry influencers, regulators, tech and talent.