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3 July, 2018 - 21:43 By Tony Quested

Cambridge on radar as FinTech star raises $80m to boost UK expansion

Australian FinTech business Airwallex has Cambridge in its sights after raising US $80 million in a Series B round that will help underpin expansion across the UK and Europe.

The international payments technology company has secured total fundraising to date of $102m.

James Butland, VP of Global Banking and head of the companies London operations, told Business Weekly: “The UK market is in Airwallex’s sights as it expands. 

“Although headquartered in London, Airwallex's technology has no geographical barriers and can be used globally to benefit businesses. Businesses are increasingly looking to do business internationally, and specifically with China, and in the UK we have seen that across the country, increasingly in regional hubs such as the Cambridge science & technology cluster.” 

Butland said the company was encouraged by the increasing number of British companies doing business and accelerating connections with China and Southeast Asia.

Built to bolster foreign exchange payments around the world, the Airwallex platform is powered by a sophisticated FX and payment engine and a transparent pricing model to avoid inflated margins and minimise market risk. 

The platform is able to support thousands of transactions per second and provides a cost-effective alternative to existing payment networks for businesses looking to automate and scale international payment workflows.
Having already demonstrated considerable success within China, the spread of Airwallex’s Series B funding will see them solidify connections between APAC, Europe and North America. 

Adding to their dedicated entities in Melbourne, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Shanghai; Airwallex will now also extend to North America. 

Butland said: “Airwallex wants to support UK and European businesses with cutting edge financial products. Our end game is to provide the worldwide network required for businesses to scale globally and to take advantage of the digital and online opportunities that exist when you’re transacting in multiple markets.”

The new funding will allow Airwallex to accelerate the production of the smart, seamless cross-border payment technology that is effectively reimagining global payments.

To close the Series B round, existing Series A investors Tencent and Sequoia China were joined by fellow China-based Hillhouse, Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures from Hong Kong, Indonesia’s Central Capital Ventura (BCA) and Australia’s Square Peg, with whom Airwallex partnered in December for a $6m Series A+ funding.  

Airwallex was the first Australian startup to join the Mastercard Start Path accelerator program in September 2016. 

• PHOTOGRAPH (From the left): Max Li, Jacob Dai, Jack Zhang (CEO), Lucy Liu (COO), Ki-lok Wong.

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