Airwallex raises $80M for its worldwide fee service for companies – TechCrunch


Airwallex, a three-year-old fintech startup centered on worldwide funds for SMEs and companies, is placing itself on the map after it raised an $80 million Collection B spherical.

Based mostly out of Melbourne, however with six places of work in Asia and different components of the world, Airwallex’s new funding spherical is the second-largest financing deal for an Australian startup in historical past. The spherical was led by current buyers Tencent, the $500 billion Chinese language web big, and Sequoia China. Different members included China’s Hillhouse, Horizons Ventures — the fund from Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing — Indonesia-based Central Capital Ventura (BCA) and Australia’s Sq. Peg, a agency from Paul Bassat, who took recruitment agency Search to IPO and is certainly one of Australia’s highest-profile founders.

The financing takes Airwallex to $102 million raised. Tencent led a $13 million Collection A in Could 2017, whereas Sq. Peg added $6 million extra through a Collection A+ in December. Mastercard can be a backer; the finance big makes use of Airwallex to deal with its “Send” product, whereas Tencent makes use of the service to energy an abroad remittance service for its WeChat app.

Airwallex handles cross-border transactions for corporations that do enterprise in a number of international locations utilizing worldwide currencies. So it’s not in contrast to a TransferWise-style service for SMEs that lack the capital to develop a complicated (and costly) worldwide banking system of their very own.

The service makes use of wholesale FX charges to route abroad funds again to a consumer’s home financial institution and is able to processing “thousands of transactions per second,” in line with the corporate. A use case instance may embrace serving to a China-based vendor return cash earned within the U.S. or Europe through Amazon or different e-commerce companies, or route gross sales income again immediately from their very own web site.

Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang (far proper) onstage at TechCrunch Shenzhen in 2017

China is a key marketplace for Airwallex — which was began by 4 Australian-Chinese language founders — in addition to the broader Asian area, and specifically Australia, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. With this new capital, Airwallex co-founder and CEO Jack Zhang stated the corporate will improve its concentrate on Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, while additionally extending its enterprise in Europe (the place it has a London-based workplace) and pushing into North America.

Product R&D is shared throughout Melbourne and Shanghai, whereas Hong Kong accounts for enterprise growth, compliance and extra, Zhang defined. Nonetheless, Airwallex’s places in London and San Francisco are more likely to account for a lot of the upcoming headcount progress deliberate following this funding. Proper now, Airwallex has round 100 workers, in line with Zhang.

The corporate can be aiming to increase its product vary.

The agency is within the technique of making use of for a digital banking license in Hong Kong, a third-party fee license in mainland China and a cross-border Chinese language yuan license. One purpose, Zhang revealed, is to supply working capital loans to SMEs to assist them scale their companies to the following degree. Airwallex is working with an undisclosed associate to underwrite offers sooner or later. Zhang defined that the corporate sees a niche out there since banks don’t have entry to crucial information on shoppers for mortgage assessments.

Extra typically, he’s bullish for the longer term, regardless of Brexit and the continuing commerce struggle between the U.S. and China.

“The trade war gives the Chinese yuan a lot of vitality, and we’ve seen more demand in the market. China’s belt road initiative has really taken off, too, and we’re seeing the impact in many, many of our payment corridors,” he defined. “Business has been booming, especially as traditional offline SMEs start to move online and go from domestic to global.”

“We want to be the backbone to support these new opportunities for businesses,” Zhang added.


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Désiré LeSage


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