Fintech unicorn Airwallex launches in Singapore, eyes SE Asia expansion

Nazim Ali, CEO of Airwallex Singapore.

Airwallex, a Melbourne-based global payments unicorn, has officially launched in Singapore, two months after it received a licence from the city-state’s central bank.

The launch means Singapore businesses can now access Airwallex’s global payment services, which include global account issuance, domestic and cross-border money transfer, multi-currency wallets, and online payments acceptance, according to the announcement.

The Sequoia-backed fintech unicorn received a Major Payment Institution (MPI) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in November last year.

It earlier secured a money services business licence in Malaysia in September, allowing it to offer international payment solutions for Malaysian businesses.

The startup’s Singapore expansion is just part of an overall plan to further expand in Southeast Asia within this year, according to Airwallex Singapore CEO Nazim Ali.

“Growing our presence and payments capability across Southeast Asia is part of our ambitious expansion plan for 2022, and Singapore is no doubt instrumental to this growth,” Ali said.

The company’s key markets now include Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the UK, EU, US, and Hong Kong.

Airwallex was founded in Melbourne in 2015 by Chinese entrepreneur Zhang, along with co-founders Lucy Liu, Jacob Dai and Max Li, before moving its headquarters to Hong Kong in 2018.

The firm offers a global fintech payment platform that helps businesses manage payments, treasury, and expenses internationally, without the constraints of the traditional financial system.

It operates a team of over 1,000 employees across 12 global offices and is looking to fill hundreds of open roles. The Singapore team is expected to quadruple by the end of 2022.

Airwallex hit a valuation of $5.5 billion after raising an additional $100 million in its Series E1 round in November, just two months after it secured $200 million Series E capital.

In March, it announced the completion of a further extended Series D round at $100 million, giving the company a $2.6-billion valuation. The company has raised over $800 million in capital since its establishment in 2015.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.