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Anyone who’s traveled overseas or sent money abroad knows that currency exchange rates can levy pretty hefty charges. What most don’t know is that there are ways around the bank and airport extortionist rates, and one quickly growing startup is looking to be the go-to place to get the best exchange rates around.

MyCurrencyTransfer enables expats, overseas property buyers and students to get the best money transfer rates by letting foreign exchange companies bid for their business. A user can enter the exchange info, including the input/output currency and total, and instantly compare available services alongside their rates. According to MyCurrencyTransfer and MyTravelMoney co-founder Daniel Abrahams, users are able to save up to 10 percent of their travel money and three to five percent of their international money transfers by using the service.

We sat down with Abrahams, who talked with us his own currency exchange frustrations that led him to create the platform, the company’s David Guetta theme that keeps them motivated, and his hardworking parents that inspired him to start his own venture.

What was the inspiration behind MyCurrencyTransfer.com and MyTravelMoney?

I was studying in Australia on an exchange program and frequently needed to transfer money to the UK. I was horrified at the markups banks were applying to the “real exchange rate.”

First of all, the bank would charge me £25 as a service “transaction fee” for the privilege of using their international payment service. However, the biggest loss was the “hidden fee,” namely, profit built into the rate of exchange.

Banks were quoting me horrendous exchange markups of up to 5 percent away from the mid-market exchange rates. The real money loss on large value payments would equate to hundreds of dollars per transaction.

It was hard to take and that became the first wake up call of a tired and opaque money transfer and travel money industry that needed democratization. Stevan (my co-founder) and I did some research and found there were non-bank foreign exchange companies who could help you transfer money abroad 85 percent cheaper than the banks.

When did you know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I think it was the day my housemaster at school told me I have an obsession with challenging authority. The thought of working for a large corporate beast was too scary. For this business, it was probably the day I got ripped off on my currency exchange.

Who are some people that inspire you?

Gary Vaynerchuk is a big inspiration. The way he built up Wine Library TV through sheer hustle, graft, and determination was amazing to see. We try to apply a lot of his principles to inbound marketing. I learned a lot from him in terms of getting in the trenches and building one on one relationships with customers and key influencers.

And of course, my wonderful parents for their unconditional love. My dad started out from a very working class background and has risen to be one of the most ambitious and entrepreneurial lawyers in the world. His work ethic is very inspirational and his humbleness is astonishing.

My mum is a very strong woman and her love for our whole family is quite amazing. She gives me the belief to achieve whatever I want in life. I admire and respect my parents both greatly. They set an incredible example to our whole family.

What tends to be your daily soundtrack around the office?

David Guetta’s “Work Hard, Play Hard” is a classic I seem to always come back to. As cliché as it may sound, this is the culture we try to instill in our team, and regularly love to reward success by going out for team dinners and mini offsites. Creating the right company culture where employees see coming in to work as a pleasure rather than a chore makes a huge difference for productivity.

If you could have one super power, which would you choose?

I’d call this type of super power “The Roving Managing Director.” Wouldn’t it be amazing to have the power to be in five different places at once? There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done, so popping up in five different places simultaneously should do the trick!

What is your idea of happiness?

Maintaining an effective work / life balance is so important as a web-based entrepreneur. Striking the right balance between working hard and switching off is very important. Health, harmony, and love of my close family and friends makes me happy.

Professionally, waking up every morning and having the same enthusiasm for your business and going in to work is also happiness personified.

What does 2013 have in store for MyCurrencyTransfer and MyTravelMoney?

We’re looking to keep organically building the team. We’re profitable and can do so without rushing to raise money. Top of the list is to hire additional developers and marketing personnel, whilst sticking to our ethos of being a “small company but very recognizable brand.”

Our designers and hackers are working away on a full re-brand of MyTravelMoney. We’re working super hard to bring more transparency and accuracy to our money transfer comparison results over at MyCurrencyTransfer. This will be accomplished through tools, charts, and transparently displaying the mid-market + pricing cost of an international money transfer.

We want to start cross-selling and introduce new products on MyTravelMoney. If we do a good job and satisfy enough of our visitors with travel money search, we can start to cross sell other products such as airport parking and car hire.

We’re in the process of signing a global license agreement to start offering car hire in 20,000 locations across the world. Airport parking will also be a big growth area. Did you know 40 percent of UK travelers park their car at the airport before flying?

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