Jack Zhang is one of the co-founders of Airwallex. For those who are curious, said company provides businesses with a global platform for financial services. Currently, Zhang is the co-founder that spends the most time in the spotlight, which makes sense because he is the CEO.
1. His Hometown Is Qingdao, China
Zhang’s hometown is the city of Qingdao in the Chinese province of Shandong. The city’s name can be interpreted to mean either “blue island,” “green island,” or even “blue-green island.” This is because Chinese was one of the languages that use a single word to refer to both of the colors called blue and green in English. Nowadays, there are separate Chinese words for both blue and green. However, Qingdao was named using the aforementioned word that can indicate blue, green, or some mix of these two colors.
2. Moved to Australia
When Zhang was still a teenager, he moved to Australia. There, he went on to skip an entire year of high school. After which, Zhang enrolled in an Australian university.
3. Went to the University of Melbourne
To be exact, Zhang went to the University of Melbourne, which of course, is situated in the city of Melbourne. It is interesting to note that the school is considered to be one of the country’s sandstone universities. Said institutions are called thus because they have buildings that are made out of sandstone for the most part. However, that isn’t the criteria for being considered one of the sandstone universities. Instead, it is a matter of age. Most of the sandstone universities were founded during the colonial era. The two exceptions are the University of Queensland that was founded in 1909 and the University of Western Australia that was founded in 1911.
4. Studied Computer Science
Airwallex is a fintech company. A wide range of people become involved in the fintech industry for a wide range of reasons. However, Zhang did so through a couple of very common routes. First, he studied computer science at the University of Melbourne, as shown by how he graduated with a Bachelor of Computer Science. Second, his subsequent career provided him with a great deal of experience in the financial sector.
5. Had to Scramble for a Source of Funding During His Education
For whatever reason, Zhang lost his source of funding during his education. As a result, he had to scramble to find a replacement, with the result that he winded up working three part-time jobs to cover his costs. Zhang did a wide range of things in that period. Some of his part-time jobs were very predictable, including working in factories, working in restaurants, and working in petrol stations. Others were more unusual, with an excellent example being how he spent some time working in a theatre.
6. Went Into Investment Banking
Speaking of which, Zhang used his education to go into investment banking. Moreover, he didn’t stick around in Australia for that. Instead, Zhang headed to London, which is famous for being one of the most important international centers of finance. It is interesting to note that London was one of the first cities that can claim said distinction. There have been plenty of centers of finance in the past. However, financial globalization didn’t emerge as a phenomenon until the late 19th century. In the present, London remains one of the most important international centers of finance, but it continues to face challenges such as Brexit as well as the emergence of new international centers of finance in other parts of the world.
7. Started a Lot of New Businesses in That Time
In case the three part-time jobs didn’t make it clear, Zhang has always been a very driven individual. Further proof of this can be seen in how he started up a number of new businesses during his time in investment banking. Examples ranged from a cafe and an import-export business to a project management firm and a real estate development firm. In total, Zhang started up 15 new businesses. Something that should make the extent of his interest clear.
8. Wanted to Find Career Satisfaction
Zhang spent so much time starting new businesses because he wanted to find true career satisfaction. Essentially, his belief is that since people spend more than half of their lives at work, it would be sad if they didn’t enjoy their work. Presumably, this means that Zhang didn’t particularly enjoy his work in investment banking, with the result that he was searching for something new, enjoyable, and meaningful to occupy himself with. Something that he seems to have found with Airwallex.
9. Founded a Company to Solve a Problem that He Encountered
It is very common for entrepreneurs to found companies for the purpose of solving problems that they have encountered. After all, they need a reason for why they believe their start-up has a chance, so this makes sense as a common explanation for how that can happen. In any case, Zhang became one of the co-founders of Airwallex because he had personal experiences with the challenges that smaller business owners can experience when operating over international borders. As such, the company exists to facilitate such processes.
10. Runs a Unicorn
A unicorn is a privately-held startup that is worth more than a $1 billion. Airwallex is worth quite a bit more than that, meaning that Zhang is currently running a unicorn. Moreover, he is notable for running one of the few unicorns based out of Australia, which number three in total. Zhang and the rest of Airwallex’s leadership have expansion in mind for the new funding that they have managed to secure. This means targeting bigger businesses. On top of that, this means expanding to new markets. The company has already made some inroads in both Europe and the United Kingdom, so that is one area of focus. Another would be the United States.