Rajesh Agrawal’s meteoric rise has all the components of a classic immigrant success story. The 39-year-old fintech entrepreneur was appointed as Deputy Mayor of London for business and enterprise last year to protect jobs and growth and champion London’s business interests once the Brexit trade negotiations with other EU countries begin. While the job at hand is quite formidable, Agarwal is no stranger to overcoming challenges.
Born in Indore, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, he moved to London in 2001 to join a foreign exchange company. Realising a gap in the market, he founded Rational FX, his own company in 2005 with business partner Paresh Davdra from a small office in Brighton. It provided foreign exchange and international wire transfer services to individuals, and within its first year, became UK’s first online currency exchange system. The business took off and they moved the office back to London within six months. The rest they say is history. In 2012, Agrawal was featured in the Sunday Times Rich List with a reported fortune of £90m fortune.
Not to rest on his laurels, he also founded Xendpay in 2012, an online money transfer platform to reduce remittance costs and provide better exchange rate to migrant workers who send money to their native countries.
Agrawal is also actively involved in philanthropic causes, particularly focusing on young people, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. He was appointed Chair of Oxfam’s Enterprise Development Programme in 2015 and is a patron of the Prince’s Trust and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.