Melbourne fintech Airwallex raises US$80 million to push international expansion

Melbourne-based fintech startup Airwallex has raised US$80 million ($109 million) in a Series B funding round, the second largest for an Australian startup to date.

The backing came from existing investors Tencent and Sequoia China, with participation from Chinese firm Hillhouse, Hong Kong’s Horizon Ventures, Central Capital Ventura from Indonesia, and Australian venture capital firm Square Peg Capital.

The round brings the total raised by the startup to US$102 million ($139 million) since its founding in late 2015, with $8.73 million in follow-on funding coming from Square Peg Capital last December.

The startup works in the foreign exchange space, giving businesses access to wholesale exchange rates, and the international payments space, where its smart auto-routing algorithms enable same day payments to selected currency by bypassing traditional payment rails and finding the most direct route.

Paul Bassatt, CEO of Square Peg, said, “These are markets with overly complex incumbent providers and huge, concentrated profit pools. Customers are looking for a serious improvement and we’re incredibly proud to continue working with Jack, Lucy, and the Airwallex team as they execute on their strategy to solve this problem.”

The fresh funding will be used for further development of the startup’s technology, along with further international expansion; with offices already established in London, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong, Airwallex will now be looking to expand into North America.

The startup will also look to grow further into the UK and Hong Kong, where it plans to apply for a virtual banking licence to encourage ‘financial inclusion’ for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Read more

Gina Baldassare – Startup Daily – 3 July 2018