News & Analysis

Melbourne fintech Airwallex hits unicorn status with US$100 million raise

- March 26, 2019 2 MIN READ
Airwallex

Melbourne-founded fintech Airwallex is the latest Australian startup to hit unicorn status following the closing of a US$100 million ($141 million) Series C round led by DST Global.

Also participating in the round were existing backers including Sequoia Capital China, Square Peg Capital, and Gobi Partners.

Coming less than a year after the startup raised a US$80 million ($108 million) Series B, the fresh funding has pushed the startup’s valuation beyond US$1 billion.

It will go towards pushing the startup’s global expansion across the US, Europe, and Southeast Asia, and further product development.

Founded in late 2015, Airwallex 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.

The startup stated its product development will focus in particular on delivering further value to marketplaces, online sellers, and small to medium enterprises.

Among its clients are the likes of Tencent and Mastercard, which have also invested in the business.

Jack Zhang, cofounder and CEO of Airwallex, said he and his cofounders started the business because they knew there was a better way to make global payments.

“Airwallex is proud to free businesses from many of the traditional barriers that have made international transactions so difficult. Our mission is to build a worldwide, technology-driven financial infrastructure that will help our customers – including marketplaces, online sellers and SMEs – grow their businesses globally,” he said.

Tom Stafford, managing partner of DST Global, added, “The growing ecommerce industry needs a technology-focused payments network that is reliable, cost-effective and provides data transparency. Airwallex has built such a network and we are excited to partner with Jack and the team as they continue to grow their business.”

Airwallex joins companies including Airbnb, Spotify, and Stripe in the DST Global portfolio.

The round is the largest for an Australian startup in a long time.

While CampaignMonitor’s US$250 million ($266 million) raise in 2014 still holds the record, Sydney workforce management startup Deputy came in with a good effort last November, raising $111 million in a Series B round.

With its $141 million, Airwallex is the first local startup since Canva last year to reach the vaunted ‘unicorn’ status.

Image: the Airwallex team. Source: Supplied.

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