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20 Things You Didn't Know about Airwallex

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There's no doubt about it not only is the world getting smaller as we speak, but the way it does business is continually evolving, and that includes cross-border payment situations that are in need of common sense solutions. Enter Airwallex. Airwallex in a fintech, or financial technology company which works to find solutions to international money transfers. Airwallex functions as a global payment platform, which facilitates cross-border transactions. In short, the Airwallex platform provides a secure way for businesses to handle international payments which is cost efficient and user friendly.

1. Airwallex is added to the 2021 CB Insights Fintech 205 List

Fintech 250 is a well-respected list which hosts the best companies in 26 countries which are concerned with developing financial tech. The financial tech, or fintech, involved includes such topics as payroll, insurance, digital banking, accounting and much more. CB Insights announced Airwallex's addition to the list. This is a triumphant accomplishment for Airwallex, as it solidifies their top tier presence in the fintech world, and showcases their drive, dependability and reliability.

2. Airwallex's Very Own COO Named Female Fintech Leader of 2018

Lucy Liu, Airwallex's COO and Co-founder received the recognition she so richly deserved for her advancements in the world of financial technology. The award received was Female Fintech Leader of the Year for 2018. Competition included the likes of Sophie Germer Katrina Donaghy, and Judy Sahay, among others. Due her outstanding achievements in the world of global payment transfers with Airwallex, she sped past the competition. .

3. Co-founder Lucy Liu Receives the Rising Star Award

The University of Melbourne, Australia chose Airwallex's very own Lucy Liu to receive their prestigious, 2021 Faculty of Business and Economics Alumni of Distinction Rising Star for Young Alumni Award. The award looks for individuals under 35 who have made outstanding achievements in both community and business post graduation. Lucy commented on the honor by saying, “I am deeply honored to be recognized with the Rising Star for Young Alumni Award. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate enough to be guided and advised by a wonderful array of mentors, and so it has been incredibly important to me to give back to the startup community.”

4. Airwallex Believes in Helping New Startups Get Ahead

Co-Founder Lucy Liu believes that there's more to Airwallex than just business. In other words, she believes that as she rises, she has a responsibility to lend a hand to others in the same situation, "It's deeply important to me that I share my time, learnings and experiences with the next generation of women coming up in the ranks." To illustrate her dedication, she has been active in StartupVIC's Office Hours Program. This program assists startups in getting their feet on solid ground.

5. A Huge Part of Airwallex's Success is in iBs Attitude Toward Clients and Co-workers

If there's one thing that those at Airwallex take seriously, it's values. At Airwallex, values are held to as if they were a code of honor. This video from Airwallex illustrates that point rather well. Several of those values presented are the insistence of maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and investing in your own talent, as co-founder and president Lucy Liu states, "Open and honest communication builds trust between all levels of business, regardless of seniority. Your team holds the talent, skills and grit to make your business successful--make sure you invest in them."

6. Airwallex Acquires Hong Kong based UniCard

Airwallex scored another success in 2021, and that was securing Hong Kong based UniCard Solution. This way Airwallex can use UniCard to process cross-border transactions through UniCard. By using UniCard, Airwallex can offer its clients a low cost, easy to use, and secure method of handling transactions. Since one of the goals of Airwallex is to create one platform which handles a multitude of cross-border transactions with ease, UniCard will add to the achievement of that goal.

7. San Francisco Becomes Airwallex's U.S. City of Choice

San Francisco is Airwallex's U.S. city of choice in acting as one of its 5 global hubs. This means that the San Francisco office will work closely with the other hubs: Melbourne Shanghai, Amsterdam, and Sydney. Among the responsibilities incurred by these 5 cities, or hubs, are the handling of R and D for new products, taking diligent care of Airwallex's global infrastructure, and examine, test and distribute digital tools. “This is an exciting moment for us as we look at ways to further support U.S. businesses that are looking to grow, both in the U.S. and internationally,” adds Zhang. “The U.S. is a major hub for technology innovation and is at the forefront of bringing traditional banking financial services into the new age. With our base in San Francisco, we are excited to be able to take part in that change, and provide businesses in the U.S. with an infrastructure that can seamlessly handle their international payments and financial services needs.”

8. The Idea for Airwallex was Born in a Cafe in Melbourne

While their coffee house in Melbourne was a mad success, Jack and his partner Max Li, found themselves tripped up by the simple act of ordering coffee cups. Jack Zhang, a co-founder of Airwallex, stated, “My co-founder and I loved coffee and started a small cafe in Melbourne. As small business owners, we quickly saw the pain points with global payments and the impact of high FX fees and banking costs when sourcing for supplies. We wanted to build out a better financial and payment solution for businesses operating across borders, and ensure they are empowered to grow.” The rest is Airwallex history.

9. In 2017 Airwallex raised $13 million Used to Introduce Their Cross-Border Payment Service to Europe

It's no secret that Airwallex has always seen itself as a leader in the global fintech sector. As such, it has managed its resources well, and put the funds to that purpose. The $13 million Series A funds were delegated to taking their payment system from Asia and stretching it into Europe. Spearheaded by Tencent, with help from MasterCard, Gobi Ventures and Sequoia China, Airwallex was able to handle the cross-border transaction issue head on.

10. CEO of Airwallex Receives the Kernot Memorial Medal

Jack Zhang, CEO of Airwallex, received one of the highest honors given by the University of Melbourne: The University of Melbourne Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology's Kernot Memorial Medal for engineering excellence. The Kernot Memorial Medal has quite the prestigious 95 year history and counts Donald Victor Darwin and John Holland among its recipients.

11. Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang Found Happiness Through Business

Jack Zhang was and still is, a man on a journey. Before he started Airwallex, he had been involved with around 15 or so businesses, from import/export to real estate before coming home to Airwallex. According to Jack he was searching for career satisfaction, “With Airwallex, which is such a long-term, bold, ambitious vision, I truly feel that I’m very happy and I’m able to enjoy day-to-day life,” says Jack. “If you think about it, you probably spend more than 60 or 70% of your life at work. If you don’t enjoy it, then that’s pretty sad.”

12. Airwallex Launches Capital 49 Fund

On July 28, 2021 Airwallex CEO Jack Zhang announced the launch of their very own venture capital fund, Capital 49. Started, organized and launched by the Airwallex founders, Capital 49's purpose is to invest in tech companies which show much promise. They look to invest in the early stages of the companies, to help them get a good, solid footing in the world of tech business.

13. Airwallex Teams Up with Naomi Simson

Famed Australian entrepreneur Naomi Simson has teamed up with Airwallex in order to launch the "Choose Growth" campaign. The point being, to assist small to mid-sized businesses in achieving growth. According to Australian Fintech, "Over the past year, SMBs have been met with numerous obstacles amid the global pandemic. Economic slowdown, market uncertainty and rapidly changing customer demands have resulted in a dramatic shift in the business landscape. The campaign theme of ‘Choose Growth’ with Naomi Simson aims to provide SMBs with the tools to tackle these challenges, including growing their customer base and cashflow, while also enhancing leadership and talent."

14. Airwallex is the Fastest Billion Dollar Startup in Australia's History

As previously stated, the birth of Airwallex began in a coffee shop in Australia in 2015. Much has happened during that short, very short time, one of them involving a mythical beast. Well, the mythical beast being a unicorn. You see, in business a unicorn refers to any private company that gains a value of $1 billion or more, which is exactly what Airwallex accomplished, and did it quickly, becoming the fastest billion dollar start up in Australia's history.

15. It All Began with the Importing of Coffee Cups

We already know that Airwallex had its roots in the coffee shop business, but did you know how and why? Well, according to Lucy Liu, “They were importing a lot from China and they found the whole process to be very painful.” As a result Cafe owners Jack Zhang and Max Li gathered some friends together in order to find a solution. It only took 6 months for this diligent group of friends to craft a solution which involves Airwallex clients to create bank accounts overseas, using the Airwallex system.

16. Airwallex CEO Becomes Involved in STEM

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM programs work to encourage more students into these fields. In working with these programs, Airwallex CEO Lucy Liu hopes to, "introduce programs that will benefit women. This includes the likes of mentoring and development initiatives, but we’ve also found that introducing flexible working arrangements, such as remote working policies, have had a significant impact on helping our teams manage work and family responsibilities."

17. Airwallex Wins Big at the Australian 2019 Finnies

They did it again, The Dream Team of Airwallex, Xijing Dai, Jack Zhang, Lucy Liu and Max Li, were the big winners at Australia's 2019 Finnies. The team took home three awards, including the Biggest Raise of the Year Award, Outstanding FinTech Leader of the year went to Zhang, and the award for "excellence in establishing a global market presence."

18. Airwallex Secures EMI License from the Dutch Central Bank

In May of 2021, it was announced that Airwallex netted the Electronic Money Institution, or EMI license from the Dutch Central Bank in the Netherlands. What makes this such big news? Well, it's the EMI which grants access to such companies as Airwallex to the European market. Airwallex already holds licenses from the US, UK, Australia, and Hong Kong. By having the EMI, the European market is now ready to receive their services.

19. Airwallex Teams up with Visa to Introduce Borderless Cards

The Airwallex Borderless Card is a result of Airwallex and Visa teaming up together to help businesses make international payments instantly. All clients need do is sign up and from that moment on, they'll be able to pay their suppliers immediately via the Borderless Card. These cards will be in both virtual and physical form. All of this results in smoother purchasing transactions.

20. Airwallex: EMEA Expanding Means Growth

After obtaining a huge win in a $100 million funding round, General Manager Jed Rose stated, "I joined Airwallex last October to build a team that can support our growing businesses in EMEA, and create the best product experience for our customers...The EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa countries) team has already grown from 10 to over 40." As a result of this outstanding growth, they've already in need of more office space, and expect to hire until they get to at least 500.

Final Thoughts

By paying close attention to the methods put forth by the leaders of Airwallex, startups can learn much in the way of achieving success. Their common sense values remain at the heart of the organization, guaranteeing that no one is left out, and all are seen as valuable contributors to the organization. Established in 2015, Airwallex is quickly securing itself a place in the global fintech world. Its platform provides businesses a place of operation 24/7 anywhere in the world. Airwallex is well on the way to becoming a major player in contributing to the growth of a global economy.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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