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  • Andre Yunque

Tencent Backs Aussie Fintech Startup Airwallex

A tiny startup seems to have caught the eye of a few big investors.


Australia-based cross-border payments startup Airwallex has closed a $13 million Series A round to expand its reach across Asia Pacific and into Europe. The deal was led by Chinese internet giant Tencent — marking its first investment in an Australian startup — with participation from Sequoia China, MasterCard and other undisclosed investors.

What is Airwallex? The company was founded last year by its CEO Jack Zhang. It facilitates cross-border transfers much like TransferWise and the like, but in size.

That’s right, unlike the majority of its money transfer peers, Airwallex targets businesses – mostly financial institutions and insurance companies – allowing them to move cash across over 100 countries “cheaper, faster, and better.” Its products range from web-based invoice and payment platforms to various APIs for foreign exchange or payments.

Prior to its Series A, the startup reportedly raised $3 million in a “pre-Series A” round led by China’s Gobi Partners and participated by Huashan Capital One, among others.

Airwallex is the first Australian startup that the Chinese internet giant Tencent has funded, and apparently, it is already working with the company to lower back-end costs at Tencent’s WeChat Pay subsidiary.

Here’s what Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang had to say about Tencent’s involvement:

“It makes sense to take strategic investment from Tencent because the WeChat ecosystem and WeChat pay is a big deal,” he added. “The internationalization will be interesting in the next couple of years, so we want to prepare ourselves for that expansion.”

Photo: Public Domain

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