Interview

Sharing artfully

WeTransfer is a Dutch start-up expanding into the US and into mobiles, while remaining faithful to its user base: the creative scene. The new CEO explains his strategy.

The take-away

  • File-sharing service WeTransfer increased its revenue by more than 25% in 2017.
  • Creative people represent 75% of the platform’s 40 million monthly users.

One of the few European file-sharing platforms, WeTransfer and its 100 employees nurture their uniqueness compared to Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. Turning a profit barely six months after its founding in 2009, the Amsterdam start-up financed itself until 2015, when it raised $25 million to open a second office in Los Angeles.

Its business model combines revenue from wallpaper-style ads on its website and premium subscriptions. Founded by blogger Nalden and entrepreneur Bas Beerens, the user-friendly service is supported mainly by creative people, who represent 75% of the 40 million monthly users. An alumnus of Amazon, new CEO Gordon Willoughby is now plotting the company’s growth strategy.

Gordon Willoughby article - Sharing artfully

How is WeTransfer doing?

We’ll finish 2017 with more than 25% more revenue than last year, thanks particularly to our growth in the US.

Are you thinking of diversifying?

We launched an app in October. It allows you to collect all types of content and share them easily. For example, a conference speaker can save their plane ticket, presentation and other data all in one place.

Does WeTransfer want to be loved by its users?

We want to offer the simplest and most fluid service possible, and that goes for mobile devices, too. To consolidate our position in the creative scene, we’re exhibiting artists’ work for free on our website. In another recent initiative, we’re offering premium subscriptions to all creative arts students in the US.

Cloud computing consumes a lot of energy. Have you taken measures to limit your footprint?

We’re one of the 10 biggest European storage-space consumers. But we don’t have a data center. We rent capacity from Amazon Web Services. By doing so, we can be more environmentally efficient, as the service contracts and expands according to our changing needs.

Gordon Willoughby