Lucy Liu's fintech unicorn Airwallex bags $57 million in funding

Lucy Liu’s fintech unicorn Airwallex bags $57 million in funding


Aussie fintech unicorn Airwallex has bagged another US$40 million ($56.5 million) in funding, topping up its already whopping $250 million Series D round, announced back in April.

The top-up brings the Series D round to $306.5 million, and Airwallex’s total capital raised to more than $564 million. As of April, the Melbourne-born startup had a valuation of $2.85 billion.

It also sees first-time investment from Skip Capital, the fund headed up by Kim Jackson and her husband, Atlassian co-founder and co-chief Scott Farquhar.

Paul Bassat’s Square Peg also invested, along with other existing investors, which have not been disclosed.

Airwallex has been one of the tech companies on the up and up throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

In Q3 this year, the fintech has seen a 50% increase in its global customer base compared to Q2, and a 100% increase in net revenue.

During the first half of the year, the unicorn also hired some 140 new staff members. It’s still seeking to fill more than 100 open roles.

“A major shift in the way businesses operate from offline to online is something Airwallex predicted from our inception,” Airwallex co-founder and chief Jack Zhang said in a statement.

“However, 2020 has fast-tracked this transition in a way no one could have foreseen. Businesses are now racing to embrace digital transformation at an unprecedented rate.

“We are more certain than ever that the digital economy is going to be the centre of the world’s economic structure.”

Speaking to SmartCompany for a feature earlier this year, Airwallex co-founder Lucy Liu echoed this, suggesting that in a post-COVID-19 economy, fintech will ultimately play a part in every business.

She drew a comparison to the move from private servers to the cloud. Where once that was a novel development, now, everything is on the cloud, she said.

“Fintech is almost like the new cloud. It’s everywhere.”

Airwallex was built to enable a digital economy, Liu explained. It’s designed to help clients expand their markets without having to open multiple offices and bank accounts, and without having to deal with various barriers to entry.

Perhaps ironically, many businesses the startup is working with are using the lockdown period to expand into new markets.

When you can’t travel, the domestic market starts to look pretty small, she noted.

“It’s actually good timing for them to think about other markets and not be so busy with their current product or customer base.”

This latest funding boost will be used to expand Airwallex’s global footprint to the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa, as well as boosting its presence in the Asia Pacific region, the UK and Europe.

In early 2021, the business plans to make its move into the US.

In a statement, Skip Capital chief Kim Jackson notes that Airwallex’s product solves a “major pain-point for customers transacting cross-border”.

“There has been rapid adoption amongst businesses both in Australia as well as internationally,” she added.

“With strong domain expertise and deep investment into core financial infrastructure, Airwallex is very well positioned to take advantage of the large payments market and the recent accelerated move to online.”

This article first appeared on SmartCompany. See the original here.


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