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Australia’s Airwallex raises $6m to grow its cross-border payment business

Australia’s Airwallex raises $6m to grow its cross-border payment business

SYDNEY: Airwallex, an Australia-based fintech startup that helps banks and businesses handle cross-border transactions at scale, has closed a $6 million investment ahead of a planned Series B next year.

The new funding comes from Square Peg a VC firm located in Melbourne, the same city as Airwallex HQ — which joins Tencent, MasterCard, Gobi Ventures and Sequoia China as backers of Airwallex. The startup had previously raised $16 million, including a $13 million Series A this past May.

Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang said he was “very honored” to gain the backing of Square Peg, which is led by Paul Bassat, who took recruitment firm Seek to IPO and is one of Australia’s highest-profile founders.

“When I was a student, I went to one of his presentations and it was very inspirational,” Zhang told TechCrunch. “He’s one of the reasons I did this startup; I can learn a lot of operational stuff from him.”

Zhang said that Airwallex doesn’t need the money but it raised it all the same because it is aware that there are many newcomers entering the cross-border payment space. It also wants to accelerate its business growth to help with future fundraising. He forecasts the company reaching $15 million in revenue next year.

Airwallex primarily offers an API service that lets customers process transactions across its system which uses inter-bank exchanges to trade forex at a mid-market rate, something which it claims can save clients as much as 90 percent on their foreign exchange rates. That ultimately tears down one barrier that prevents companies from sales in international markets: price.

Its other products span trading and global wallets, with customers varying from institutional traders, OTA platforms, education companies and e-commerce firms. Two high-profile names are actually investors: Mastercard uses Airwallex to power its “Send” platform, while Tencent’s WeRemit service in Hong Kong is powered by the startup.

Zhang told TechCrunch that Airwallex is planning for a “large” Series B round in Q2 2017. It plans to double its current 70-person staff, and invest heavily in its Shanghai-based R&D team which jointly develop product with a Melbourne-based office. Airwallex also has offices in London and Shanghai. It is actively working to open locations in San Francisco and Singapore, Zhang said.