Fintech Startup Airwallex Secures $100 Million at a $2.6 Billion Valuation

By Luigi Wewege Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Fintech startup company Airwallex has raised $100 million in the Series D extension, reaching a business valuation of $2.6 billion. The extension of the funding round was headed by Greenoaks, including participation from Grok Ventures and returning backers Skip Capital and ANZi Ventures.

A person using a mobile banking app on their smartphone.

New Regions Targeted for Company Expansion

Co-founder and CEO of the fintech startup, Jack Zhang, says his company will use the new proceeds to expand business into the United States (US) in Q2 this year and broaden its payment coverage to new regions, including the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Moreover, the startup business is also working on launching more products, including physical cards.

After the extension, Airwallex’s total company funding raised in Series D amounts to $300 million after it raised $200 million in September 2020 to fund the launch of its payments platform across the US.

At the time, the business move was seen as Airwallex’s attempt to become a competitor to the fintech business titan Stripe.

"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," Zhang said at the time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has facilitated the shift from traditional banking to digital and Airwallex’s announcement of the Series D round, which came after a number of companies raised capital last year, including Ant Group in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Lufax in New York, and JD Digits in Shanghai.

Airwallex secured $160 million in April last year from a number of banks, tech organizations, and investment companies, hitting a business valuation of $1.8 billion at the time.

During that period, fundraising for tech startups has weakened significantly, but Airwallex went against the grain. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, fintech businesses that utilize data analytics to extend loans to clients and businesses have been hit by the economic collapse.

However, the fintech startup managed to dodge the bullet as the startup operates in a more encouraging fintech environment. The company instead helps small businesses manage their international operations, including foreign exchange needs and trading multiple currencies without charging substantial bank fees.

“We are building a digital payments infrastructure to help small and medium enterprises operate globally,” said Zhang.

Many consider that Airwallex is developing a completely new fintech infrastructure that could replace the traditional banking system, which is now controlled by Swift.

“It is a big deal. It took five decades to build up Swift into a system which is low cost, robust and resilient. There is no alternative today,” said Dino Kos, executive VP of the foreign exchange settlement services provider CLS.

The fintech company launched its system in 2016 in a bid to allow clients to open overseas bank accounts for making business payments to customers based in other countries. When users decide to return those revenues back home, they do it through the Airwallex system, which uses mid-market rates.

Summary

The Australia-based payments startup Airwallex raised $100 million in the Series D extension after raising $200 million in September last year.

About the Author


Headshot of Luigi Wewege

Luigi Wewege is the Senior Vice President and Head of Private Banking at Caye International Bank. Outside of the bank, he serves as an instructor at the FinTech School which provides online training courses on the latest technology and innovation developments within the financial services industry. Luigi is also the published author of "The Digital Banking Revolution."

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