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November 18, 2021updated 19 Nov 2021 10:06am

Airwallex secures $5.5bn valuation: Big fintechs muscle into new markets

By Eric Johansson

Australian startup Airwallex has picked up a $5.5bn valuation after securing US$100m in a Series E1 funding round. Launched in 2015, the fintech started off by providing businesses with affordable ways to make international payments, similar to Wise. It has since expanded into offering bank accounts and borderless debit cards, marking a trend of more fintech startups expanding their services to cover bigger markets.

Lone Pine Capital led Airwallex’s Series E1 round and was joined by existing investors including 1835i Ventures, the venture capital partner to ANZ, and Sequoia Capital China.

The news comes just months after Airwallex announced an oversubscribed US$200m Series E round. The deal was the biggest funding round recorded in the Asia-Pacific in September according to GlobalData’s deals database. Deals worth US$970.7m were announced in Asia-Pacific in September 2021 in the financial services industry.



Airwallex claims the funding round follows it having recorded a 165% year on year (YoY) revenue increase, with annualised revenue exceeding US$100 million. The company has also made more than 200 additional hires to strengthen its hold of different global markets.

“Our record performance last quarter demonstrates the tremendous demand from customers who are seeking better solutions to operate their businesses,” said Jack Zhang, Co-founder and CEO of Airwallex.

“As we approach our sixth anniversary, we want to continue to connect entrepreneurs, business builders, and makers with opportunities in every corner of the world. This new capital injection will allow us to do just that, fuelling M&A opportunities that will accelerate our global expansion plans, pursuing our mission to empower businesses to grow without borders.”

The Airwallex funding round comes as the scaleup has actively expanded its services since it first emerged in 2015, but it’s not alone in doing so.

Challenger banks, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) ventures and other payment processing companies are actively diversifying their services to become one-stop shops for all their customers’ financial needs.

This is particularly prevalent in the BNPL space where more businesses are adding additional services for their customers to enjoy.

“There is certainly a prospect that the large BNPL players will become more like traditional fintechs, such as PayPal,” Nick Maynard, head of research at Juniper Research, recently told Verdict.

Tellingly, PayPal is one of the traditional payment companies – alongside Mastercard – that has taken steps to muscle into the highly profitable BNPL industry. The sector is expected to keep growing to be worth $166bn by 2023, according to GlobalData’s thematic research.

PayPal also recently announced a stock-trading feature. Other fintech companies expanding their services include Klarna, Square and Revolut.

Verdict deals analysis methodology

This analysis considers only announced and completed deals from the GlobalData financial deals database and excludes all terminated and rumoured deals. Country and industry are defined according to the headquarters and dominant industry of the target firm. The term ‘acquisition’ refers to both completed deals and those in the bidding stage.

GlobalData tracks real-time data concerning all merger and acquisition, private equity/venture capital and asset transaction activity around the world from thousands of company websites and other reliable sources.

More in-depth reports and analysis on all reported deals are available for subscribers to GlobalData’s deals database.