Australia’s newest $1 billion company
FINTECH start-up Airwallex has become Australia's latest "unicorn" company with a $US100 million ($A140m) fundraising that values the payments transfer provider at more than $US1 billion.
The Series C fundraising round was led by DST Global, which has invested in the likes of Facebook, Airbnb and Spotify.
The capital will be used to expand Airwallex's international collection and payment products, and to support expansion into the US, UK, Europe and southeast Asia.
"We're basically building a global financial infrastructure," said chief executive Jack Zhang.
With a single know-your-customer check, an Airwallex client can open a local bank account in 50 different currencies, and instantly send and receive money internationally using lower interbank rates, Mr Zhang explained. Other international payment solutions charge as much as three or four per cent in currency fees.
Mr Zhang said the company's Asia-Pacific business had increased five-to- eightfold this year, was transferring billions and looking to take on more small businesses as clients.
"Very few companies are growing at this kind of rate," he said. Airwallex last year moved its headquarters from Melbourne to Hong Kong, but it still has about 60 of its 260 employees in the Victorian capital. It is looking to double that number this year, hiring more project managers and engineers.
Mr Zhang said, given how easily the company was raising money privately, it had no plans to go public for at least three years.
Australia's other "unicorns" - private start-ups worth more than $US1 billion - include graphic design company Canva and aerial imagery company Nearmap. Sydney software company Atlassian listed on the NASDAQ in 2015 and now has a market capitalisation of $US26 billion ($A36 billion).