Australian fintech Airwallex has raised $US160 million ($252 million) in new funds from investors including ANZ and Salesforce.
The real-time payments platform was valued at over $US1 billion ($1.5 billion) last year, making it a tech 'unicorn', with the latest round including new investors ANZi Ventures, the corporate venture arm of ANZ Bank, and Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce.
Existing investors which also participated in the round included DST Global, Tencent, Sequoia Capital China, Hillhouse Capital and Horizons Ventures and it brings the total raised by the startup to $US362 million.
Jack Zhang is the chief executive and co-founder of Airwallex. Credit:Elike Meitzel
Airwallex will use the funds to accelerate its growth in Europe, the US and new markets, expand its product line to include payment acceptance solutions through a proprietary gateway and for potential acquisitions in the payments space.
The new funding follows Airwallex opening new offices in Tokyo, Bangalore and Dubai last year however the startup has also had to contend with the freezing of $US18.2 million ($27 million) of its funds last year in Hong Kong by the territory's Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.
The startup claimed it was an innocent third party and has applied to Hong Kong's High Court for judicial review of the freezing orders.
Airwallex was started out of Melbourne cafe Tukk & Co when co-founders Jack Zhang and Max Li struggled to buy coffee cups and labels for their cafe Tukk & Co in Melbourne's Docklands.
They teamed up with university friends Lucy Liu, Xijing Dai and Ki-lok Wong to enable small businesses to make purchases with offshore merchants without incurring typical exchange fees
The startup has expanded its offering over the last year to include a borderless card in partnership with Visa and integration with accounts platform Xero.
Chief executive Jack Zhang said soon all businesses would operate and conduct their affairs online.
"From the very beginning, our vision has been to lead the transformation of global financial infrastructure," he said. "We have stayed true to our vision by building the Airwallex platform with fast and agile technology, continually improving our product and investing in dedicated support teams."
Ron Spector, managing director of ANZi Ventures, said Airwallex was one of Australia's fintech leaders and the investment was strategic for ANZi.
"We look forward to working further with the team to support their vision of building a next-generation digital payments platform for SMBs and enterprises globally," he said.
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