From making a financial mistake to becoming Estonia’s only billionaire: the story of Kristo Kaarmann

From Rags to Riches: The Inspiring Journey of Estonia’s Only Billionaire Kristo Kaarmann

Kristo Kaarmann, the founder of Wise, went from working at a London company to becoming his home country’s only billionaire. His story is a testament to the idea that setbacks can lead to success, as long as you have the willpower and vision to make it happen.

It all started with a costly mistake in 2008 when Kaarmann transferred money from his UK bank to Estonia and ended up losing a large amount due to unfavorable exchange rates. This prompted him to create a web platform, now called Wise, that revolutionized the way people transfer their money internationally.

Despite initial skepticism, Kaarmann and his partner Daavet Hinrikus persevered and built Wise into an international fintech company with a presence in more than 50 countries and a user base of more than four million. The company’s services, including low-cost international transfers, have changed the way people manage their money around the world.

As of 2024, Kristo Kaarmann’s net worth is estimated to be approximately $2.2 billion, making him Estonia’s only billionaire and a leading figure in the global business world. His journey serves as an inspiration for future generations of entrepreneurs, proving that even the biggest mistakes can lead to great achievements with willpower and vision.

As Wise continues to grow and diversify its businesses, the future looks bright for Kaarmann and his financial empire. His story is proof that resilience and innovation can turn challenges into compliant alternatives.