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Wyre creator Michael Dunworth is $267m richer after offering his crypto start-up


May 9, 2022

Wyre was co-founded with Ioannis (Yanni) Giannaros, a software application engineer who populated the bunk bed below Mr Dunworth’s in the shared “Hacker Home,” in Silicon Valley when he initially transferred to the United States in 2013.

It was a leased home packed with low-cost bunks, where wannabe tech creators and software application designers paid $200 a night while they looked for their huge break.

Wyre utilizes blockchain-based innovation to use merchants quick cross-border payments and offers a crypto-based payments application programs user interface (API), permitting companies to plug straight into protected, regulated crypto-to-fiat payment facilities.

It has money-transmitter licences in 27 US states and runs in China and Brazil.

Bolt, which is understood for its one-click checkout service for merchants, was apparently valued at $US11 billion in a financing round in January, and saw Wyre as a method to include assistance for crypto deals to its services.

” Bolt is an incumbent in the payments area, and they can see crypto is where the marketplace is heading,” Mr Dunworth stated.

” They resemble Peter Parker, and we’re the spider that’s going to bite them, turning them into Spider-Man.”

Doing laundry impersonated Spider-Man didn’t exercise for Mr Dunworth, however crypto payments definitely did. Louie Douvis

It is a superhero example that reveals the roots of Mr Dunworth’s whirlwind journey to success are still fresh in his mind.

Having actually ended up being good friends with Mr Giannaros, the set’s very first service concept together included dressing up as superheroes like Batman and Spider-Man and getting dry cleansing around San Francisco.

To their surprise, business removed, and they quickly discovered themselves driving around the city with loads of cleaning and establishing relationships with laundromats.

However after a dreadful bank vacation, when all the laundromats closed, and they were required to feed dollar coins into pay-as-you-go cleaning makers to finish their same-day orders, Mr Dunworth understood this wasn’t going to be his huge break.

” I keep in mind sitting outside the laundromat going, what the hell, what am I doing?” Mr Dunworth stated.

” Even if we might develop a cool app that collaborated superheroes to places, I didn’t wish to begin a laundry business.”

At the time, online shopping had actually strengthened itself as an everyday routine throughout America, and Mr Dunworth and Mr Giannaros saw a chance to establish a one-click checkout item.

Snapcard, which would go on to end up being Wyre, was established in 2013, and the set developed software application that would scoop a user’s purchases throughout shops like Kmart, Zara and Amazon into one basket.

While the client would simply pay when for their different purchases, Snapcard would zoom around the backend paying all the various merchants and clipping 2 percent of the basket worth.

The concept was unique, and quickly they had a fast-growing client base.

” At one point Yanni had the very best credit report in The United States and Canada due to the fact that we were purchasing whatever on his charge card,” Mr Dunworth stated.

” He was purchasing like $100,000 worth of things a day and paying it back instantly.”

Entering crypto

At the time bitcoin was becoming a hot originality amongst tech employees, and Mr Dunworth thought about providing the cryptocurrency payments as a novelty.

Securing the cost at check-out, Snapcard would get bitcoin payments through a Coinbase account (the creators were good friends and lived up the roadway in Silicon Valley), transform it into United States dollars and after that pay the merchants, clipping their typical 2 percent en route.

Once Again, to the set’s surprise, the need removed and Snapcard discovered itself thrust into the world of banking licences and blockchain-based deals.

It was 2013, and the cost of bitcoin had simply run hard from $15 to around $1150 and everybody who had some cryptocurrency was more than delighted to invest it online shopping.

Preparing for the ultimate downturn as the cost came off, Mr Dunworth and Mr Giannaros began to develop cryptocurrency wallets, and started the tiresome procedure of exercising which banking licences they ‘d require to hold to help with crypto motions in the United States.

It was around this time they pitched to Increase, a bitcoin-focused equity capital accelerator run by Adam Draper, who tipped in $US10,000 in return for 6 percent of business. An offer Mr Dunworth now refers to as “respectable for them, right?”

However $10,000 didn’t truly take them too far, so within 12 months Snapcard required to raise more cash in its very first seed round.

While equity capital streams a lot more easily now, Mr Dunworth discovered the procedure agonizing. He wound up cold emailing 2300 various individuals, got 600 replies, which resulted in 100 calls, then 25 conferences which dished out 2 cheques.

” It’s so tough to raise cash,” Mr Dunworth stated. “It’s the hardest procedure worldwide, made harder that we weren’t Stanford alumni with 4 years at Uber. It’s difficult to overemphasize how dreadful this procedure is.”

Ultimately, they banked $US1.5 million, which enabled them to lease a workplace, though the set had 2 bed mattress on the ground in a side space where they slept for 3 years.

Snapcard had actually presented its crypto wallets by this point, and Mr Dunworth had actually dived headlong into the wild west of crypto guideline and know-your-customer requirements.

” The tough part isn’t taking cash from somebody, it’s ensuring they’re not deceitful,” Mr Dunworth stated.

While he was systemically making sure Snapcard was abiding by the strict banking guideline around monetary items, Mr Dunworth and Mr Giannaros chose they didn’t wish to develop a business like Coinbase, which provided broking and trading.

Their API system was born from the concept that business all around the world would not wish to go through the strenuous compliance actions, rather they might register to Snapcard, and plug and play.

When bitcoin plunged into a bearish market around 2015, the Snapcard group understood they had actually developed strong rails to regularly and securely transform bitcoin into whatever the regional currency was.

Thanks to the worldwide, immediate nature of the blockchain, Snapcard might start providing cross-border payments for merchants handling producers in establishing nations like Brazil and China.

As it stood, banks would take 6 days to settle cross-border payments whereas Snapcard might use same-day settlement.

” It was excellent, we simply utilized the bitcoin network to do it immediately, and maximized cashflow for all these merchants,” Mr Dunworth stated.

” Which market was not vulnerable at all to the volatility in crypto markets.”

Snapcard rebranded to Wyre, and Mr Dunworth and Mr Giannaros rode a surge in development that saw their innovation underpin widely known crypto brand names like Metamask and Rarible.

Mr Dunworth stated Wyre’s success came from finding and resolving the issue that merchants attempting to deal with cryptocurrencies didn’t wish to go through the tiresome licensing procedure simply to use crypto payments within their items.

The set invested years getting proper banking licenses in different jurisdictions and developed a crypto-payment API that provides other start-ups a completely certified on-ramp, off-ramp payment rails.

Business likewise rode on the e-commerce and Amazon merchant boom by utilizing bitcoin and blockchain’s immediate transfer innovation to use cross-border payments with fast-growing markets like China and Brazil.

” There’s a great deal of best location, correct time things, however there’s likewise the tough reality that we developed this iron-clad architecture with all the best licenses that, touch wood, hasn’t been hacked to date,” Mr Dunworth stated.

That development and the $US90 million that Wyre reserved in income in 2015 eventually brought Bolt, and it’s $US1.5 billion acquisition to the table.

Mr Dunworth stated the choice to offer was simple as the start-up had actually progressed beyond its fast-growing roots and was settling into a developing service. Contribute to that, Mr Dunworth was all set to take an action back from the fray and move house to Australia.

” By this point I was truly running out of steam,” Mr Dunworth stated. “My psychological health had actually copped a whipping for several years, and it was specifying where I had this big imposter syndrome.”

Mr Dunworth got here back in Australia, with strategies to remain for 2 months, however the relief of going back from everyday running of Wyre cleaned over him and Mr Giannaros took control of the CEO function throughout the Bolt acquisition.


Ioannis (Yanni) Giannaros and Michael Dunworth, from Wyre, have actually invested the last 9 years constructing crypto payment rails and have actually been gotten by Bolt for $US1.5 bn. Picture taken 2018

” We’re still exercising what function I play in the brand-new location Wyre has within Bolt,” Mr Dunworth stated.

” However everything boils down to Yanni and whether he requires me there. If he does, I remain in. If he’s excellent to go, I’m going to take a break and play my old computer game and attempt to keep in mind who I in fact am.”

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