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‘Wave of global unicorns’: Airwallex hits $5.5 billion valuation

Australian payments startup Airwallex is swiftly rising up the ranks of fast growing, highly valued local unicorns, securing a fresh round of funding that values it at $US4 billion ($5.5 billion).

The Melbourne-based fintech’s $US200 million raise is the latest in a big week for the Australian tech sector, following a $US200 million raise by Canva that pushed its valuation up to $US40 billion and Atlassian eclipsing $US100 billion in market capitalisation.

Ron Spector, managing director of ANZ’s venture arm 1835i, which invested in the funding round said the fintech was part of a “wave of global unicorns” coming from Australia.

Jack Zhang’s Airwallex is now valued at $US4 billion.

Jack Zhang’s Airwallex is now valued at $US4 billion.Credit:Paul Jeffers

“What’s really impressive is you now have the top global funds coming into Australia investing,” he said. “You also have these companies not being viewed as Australian, they are viewed as world-class tech companies.”

Airwallex’s latest raise was led by US hedge fund Lone Pine Capital and saw new investors – G Squared and Vetamer Capital Management – put money into the fintech, alongside existing investors Salesforce Ventures, DST Global, Sequoia Capital China and 1835i.

It also follows a $US100 million raise in March and brings the total funds raised by Airwallex to $US700 million.

Co-founder and chief executive Jack Zhang said in a statement that Airwallex’s new investors brought experience and successful industry track records, which validated the fintech’s business and its growth strategy.

“From the start, our vision has been to build a global financial operating system that will allow modern businesses to operate without borders,” he said. “This additional capital enables us to scale our presence in North America, UK, Europe and other new markets including the Middle East, South America and Southeast Asia, and become a dominant leader in global payments.”

Airwallex was founded out of a Melbourne café by Mr Zhang, Lucy Liu, Max Li, Xijing Dai and Ki-lok Wong in 2015 and has grown to 1000 employees around the world.

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