Posted on March 26, 2019 by staff

New FinTech unicorn chooses UK for European HQ


International payments start-up Airwallex has chosen London for its European headquarters after raising $100 million.

The FinTech, which is based in Melbourne, Australia, specialises in low-cost cross-border payments and will ramp up its European operations immediately.

Led by James Butland, VP of European growth, the FinTech has assembled a local team across sales, compliance, marketing and partnerships to build the European client base.

The series C funding of $100m was led by DST Global, which has backed internet giants Facebook, Airbnb and Spotify as well as FinTech leaders Nubank and Robinhood.

Sequoia Capital China, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital, Gobi Partners, Horizons Ventures and Square Peg Capital also participated. The firm has now raised more than $200m in total.

It values Airwallex, which will also expand into the United States and Southeast Asia, at more than $1 billion.

“The quality of investors in Airwallex is testament to the solutions we have developed; the likes of DST Global have invested in tech success stories such as Facebook, Alibaba and Twitter, and it matches our ambition,” said Butland.

“We want to enable businesses in every market we operate in to scale globally, and participate more easily in global markets, by providing a platform that delivers efficient payment processing through some of the world’s busiest trading corridors.

“Our platforms, which have experienced huge growth in Australia and Asia, will help free businesses from many of the traditional barriers that have made international transactions and growth so difficult.

“Our journey has only just begun in the UK and London; but we know the market is strong – we can already see huge potential for our services.”

Founded in 2015, Airwallex already supports client base of internet titans including, Tencent and Ctrip, and large financial service companies including MasterCard.

In the UK, after being granted an EMI license by the FCA in November 2018, Airwallex will target SMEs and online marketplaces that are looking towards international expansion.

Airwallex says it will aim to support SMEs and their payment needs by allowing them to instantly create global accounts with local bank details, access interbank exchange rates and send money through local and international clearing networks to more than 130 countries.

Tom Stafford, managing partner of DST Global, said: “Cross-border ecommerce continues to grow strongly, driven both by consumer purchasing as well as business-to-business transactions.

“This growing 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.”