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WeTransfer is a cloud-based computer file transfer service. The company was founded in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) by Bas Beerens and Nalden. The core service is free, with more features available for premium accounts. Free users can send files up to 2 GB; the paid-for WeTransfer ‘Plus’ allows transferring without size limitations and offers features like password protection, channel customization and 500 GB storage. In October 2018, WeTransfer relaunched its app with the name "Collect by WeTransfer."
Early development and launch
WeTransfer was founded in 2009 and evolved from Beerens’s frustration at not being able to share large files easily. WeTransfer had to be ‘simple enough for your parents to use’. Nalden, who ran the blog Nalden.net, was approached by Beerens and added the idea of full screen background imagery. WeTransfer was later turned into a stand-alone business.
In 2012, WeTransfer implemented a re-design and introduced its premium ‘Plus’ offering, which included bigger file transfers as well as storage, an address book, and the ability to password protect files.
Self-funded from its launch in 2009, WeTransfer reached profitability in 2013. In 2014, WeTransfer launched creativeclass.tv, an ongoing video series. In that same year, WeTransfer also initiated its first bursaries through a collaborative partnership with Central Saint Martins. These bursaries supported two students from around the globe in their full-time studies.
In 2015, WeTransfer raised a $25 million Series A funding round from Highland Capital Partners Europe.
In 2016, WeTransfer announced the acquisition of digital design and innovation studio Present Plus. Established in 2010 by Damian Bradfield and WeTransfer co-founder Nalden, Present Plus focused on making technology simple and useful, and creating content in the hope that it would be shared. Its work attracted clients like Adidas, MR PORTER, British Airways, Sonos and Christie’s.
In September 2016 WeTransfer opened their first office in the United States, in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. In early 2017, Gordon Willoughby became the company’s Chief Executive Officer, taking over from Founder and Chief Executive Bas Beerens, who stepped back from day-to-day operations to become Executive Chairman.
Beerens also runs the design consultancy OY Communications, from which WeTransfer was developed, initially as OY Transfer. In 2012, he founded WeMarket, a global B2B marketplace for buyers and suppliers in any industry.
WeTransfer has a dual revenue model; split between advertising and premium subscriptions. With a free account, users can send files of up to 2 GB. With a premium account, customers get access to bigger transfer sizes (up to 20 GB), 500 GB storage and password and personalization options.
WeTransfer also works with brands to develop and deliver full-screen advertisements on its billboard like 'background wallpapers', an advertising model Nalden pioneered on the blog he ran before launching WeTransfer, instead of banner ads.
75% of WeTransfer users come from the "creative community". Since its launch, WeTransfer has given away 30% of the background wallpaper images (advertising space) to support and showcase artists, designers, musicians, illustrators, photographers and creative organizations. In 2016, this meant giving away one billion page impressions to the creative community.
WeTransfer's content platform ‘This Works’ tells the stories behind the creatives that are featured on WeTransfer.
In early 2017 the company announced that it is offering free premium WeTransfer Plus accounts to all creative arts students in the United States. In the same year, WeTransfer announced that it is one of the Founding Partners of the University of the Underground, as part of WeTransfer’s support of arts and education. Led by designer and WeTransfer’s Chief of Experiences Nelly Ben Hayoun, the University of the Underground, run in collaboration with Amsterdam's Sandberg Instituut, offers a postgraduate curriculum that encourages students to "use multidisciplinary design thinking to make a difference in the world".
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