Australia-based fintech startup Airwallex has closed an $80-million Series B round from return backers Tencent and Sequoia China, and other investors, it said in a media statement.
The round — the largest raised by an Australian startup this year and believed to be the second-largest in the country — was joined by Hillhouse Capital, Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures, Indonesia’s Central Capital Ventura and Australian VC Square Peg Capital. The financing for Airwallex eclipses the $45.46-million round raised by software firm SafetyCulture in May this year.
The latest round brings the startup’s aggregate funding to $102 million. It had last raised a $6-million Series A+ round in December 2017.
Founded in 2015, Airwallex offers solutions to conduct cross-border transactions and international money transfers via a combination of local payment collection, foreign exchange and distribution. The fresh capital will be used for global expansion, particularly in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, the Australian firm said.
“Our end-game is to provide the global network required for businesses to scale globally and take advantage of the digital and online opportunities that exist when you’re transacting in multiple markets,” said Airwallex co-founder and chief operating officer Lucy Liu.
Airwallex has been beefing up its team in Singapore, its first Southeast Asian market. “Luckily, within Singapore, there is an established pool of talent that is both experienced, savvy and local, who also align with our values of trailblazing new paths and no-limit thinking on what can be achieved for the entire category,” said Airwallex co-founder and CEO Jack Zhang.
In Hong Kong, another high priority market, the Australian firm will use the latest funding to cater to small and medium enterprises and to acquire a virtual banking licence.
Other neighbouring markets on its radar are Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Phillipines.
“We don’t have set timeframes for each [market] but work tirelessly to go as fast as we can because we see them all as emerging markets that have a growing demand for FX and payments solutions, with only limited or fractured solutions available to them currently,” Zhang said.
“As the pace and connectivity of the digitalized global economy continues to rapidly accelerate,the need to focus on foreign exchange and payments has become critically important for large corporates and SMEs. We believe that Airwallex’s continuous improvement in providing seamless solutions for this problem is eliminating the obstacle, effectively giving their clients a clear advantage in a hyper competitive global market,” said Sequoia Capital China founder and managing partner Neil Shen.