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Melbourne headquartered fintech startup Airwallex has raised US$13 million in a Series A funding round to fuel international expansion and enable more businesses to make faster, easier and cheaper payments worldwide.

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, one of the earliest Chinese investment institutions Sequoia Capital China, and Mastercard all participated in the round. Airwallex was the first Australian startup to join the Mastercard Start Path accelerator program in September 2016.

Tencent, the fourth largest internet company in the world behind Amazon, Google and Facebook, has a vested interest in cross-border payments as one of the largest mobile payment providers in the world through its popular social media app, WeChat.

Steven Ji, Partner of Sequoia said: “Airwallex is Sequoia Capital China’s first startup investment in Australia. Foreign exchange transactions pose a real challenge for businesses that operate across borders, and Airwallex’s solution has seriously impressed us in its ability to close the gap and allow companies to financially access markets that may have previously been out of reach.”

Among one of the largest ever Series A funding rounds by an Australian technology startup, the raise will propel the release of Airwallex’s suite of APIs, allowing businesses to process international payments at scale. Able to support thousands of transactions per second and providing a more cost-effective alternative to existing payment networks, Airwallex helps businesses automate and scale their international payment workflows.

Built to bolster foreign exchange payments around the world, the Airwallex platform is powered by a sophisticated FX and payment engine and a transparent pricing model to avoid inflated margins and minimise market risk.

“The continued growth of international trade and the global economy rely on efficient cross-border transactions,” said Airwallex Co-Founder and CEO, Jack Zhang.

“Our mission is to eradicate the burden of international payments so that businesses can transact across borders with ease. Armed with a growing number of financial services licences and partnerships across numerous jurisdictions, we aim to make international payments as cheap and simple as domestic payments.”

Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Philip Dalidakis, said: “Victoria’s reputation as a leading destination for tech and business investment in the Asia Pacific is going from strength to strength and that is in no small part due to the depth of talent in our startup sector. Home-grown success stories like Airwallex are attracting international investment and taking brand Victoria to the world, proving that our tech capabilities can compete with the best.”

FinTech Australia CEO, Danielle Szetho, said: “This announcement is further evidence that Australian fintech companies are regarded as truly world class by top global investors, and of our industry’s increasingly strong links with Asia and China.”

“It also continues the trend highlighted in the recent KPMG Pulse of FinTech report that showed investments into Australian fintech companies more than tripled in 2016, outpacing the growth of investment in other regions and well in line with other leading Asia-Pacific fintech hubs.”

This Airwallex funding round follows a pre-Series A round of US$3 million in early 2016 led by Gobi Partners.