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Airwallex raises $100 million to boost cross-border business banking, valuation remains flat at $5.5 billion TechCrunch

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The economy may be showing signs of contraction now, but many companies still need to do business internationally. Now, a startup that provides tools for creating and managing these transactions has announced funding. Airwallex, a Hong Kong/Australia startup that provides cross-border banking and other financial services to businesses, has raised $100 million. Management — and for M&A.

The funding comes in the form of Airwallex’s Series E expansion. Technically, it will have a $100 million expansion in November 2021, and will become Series E-2 after his original $200 million expansion in September 2021. Peg, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, Lone Pine Capital, Hermitage Capital, 1835i Ventures and Tencent all participated. Australian fund HostPlus and an unnamed “North American Pension Fund” also invested.

Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang, who co-founded the company with Xijing Dai, Lucy Liu and Max Li, told TechCrunch that business has been growing steadily over the last year. The company’s revenue grew 184%, and ARR said he surpassed $200 million in September, and that he handles nearly $50 billion in annual transactions. The number of customers he has doubled, but this figure is only described as a vague “tens of thousands” of companies (including Papaya Global, HubSpot, Plum, GOAT, etc.).

Still, given the current economic climate, this round has not been an uphill battle. So in a few weeks valuation he hit $1.5 billion he’s coming in at a flat valuation of $5.5 billion which is the same level that Airwallex achieved a year ago.

“It was a more difficult environment to raise funds,” says Zhang. He and the rest of the team were able to see what was coming around the corner earlier this year, he added, with Airwallex still having significant funds in the bank.9 $600 million out of $900 million raised at the end of the month. Zhang and I spoke — the startup decided to raise more money, just in case.

“Last year, it took us two weeks to raise $100 million,” he said of the last round of funding. “It took four months this year. I realized that I was about to enter the Series E expansion. Investors (or Airwallex itself) may ask themselves whether choosing to remain independent was the right choice.

Meanwhile, the company continues to grow its own platform at its own pace. Airwallex is currently focused on two areas. Business banking covers bank accounts, money transfers, payment cards, expense management, and B2B payment links. And its platform products are a set of embeddable financial services that customers integrate into their own platforms or websites via APIs to enhance themselves and their experience. includes treasury services to store and manage funds in , internationally priced foreign exchange, payments and card issuance.

As I wrote before, Airwallex made headlines when it was first founded by doing the right thing at the right time. We have done the hard work of integrating with many banks and building complex financial services and making them easy to use. (API dependent) This enables cross-border businesses to quickly set up banking and remittance services, initially in the Asia-Pacific region and eventually globally.

“Over the past six years, we have built over 50 banking integrations and now offer payments through our partner network in 95 countries,” Zhang told me in 2021. It developed primitives like card issuance,” and eventually built an end-to-end payment stack, he said.

That business saw a huge spike in demand (and ratings) in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital saw deals go through the roof. And those who were focused on the offline world before the pandemic realized that a radical shift to digital was necessary.

The big question these days, both for Airwallex and many other companies like Stripe, PayPal and Revolut, has been whether these changes will last as the world slowly returns to its pre-pandemic habits and processes. . Airwallex’s growth, while not as strong as we predicted a year ago, appears to point to further opportunities ahead.

China, the United Kingdom and North America are currently the most active markets, Zhang said, with plans to continue expanding in certain countries with particularly strong available markets. Israel is one such country she is. Because almost every Digital Angle business out there has international operations to expand outside of their small domestic market. Zhang added that it is also a hotbed of potential acquisition targets, especially now, as it is becoming much more difficult for small businesses to raise rounds.

For example, one area where Israel has strengths and where Airwallex currently does not have a native solution is in fraud prevention.

“From an M&A perspective, we are very interested in that area,” said Zhang.

Apart from building their own business and pursuing acquisitions to expand inorganically, the Airwallex founders are also building another venture, an investment fund, to fuel business growth. The fund, called Capital 49, was launched in July 2021. Unlike other funds aimed at expanding the product ecosystem, such as Amazon’s Alexa Fund and Slack Fund, Capital 49 will not operate off Airwallex’s balance sheet, but rather invest in Airwallex’s many investors. is an LP, but uses Airwallex’s knowledge of the market to guide it.

“We have accumulated deep knowledge of fintech and SaaS,” said Zhang, adding that “the primary goal of the fund is to support interesting startups in these categories leveraging Airwallex’s infrastructure.” said.