Melbourne based Airwallex, which is building a new foreign exchange payment network, raised funding from the world’s fourth-biggest internet company, Tencent, along with Sequoia Capital China and Mastercard.

The latest funding round follows a pre-Series A raising of $3 million in early 2016 led by Gobi Partners.

Airwallex lets businesses issue and pay invoices in their preferred currency at the mid-market foreign exchange rate.

Payments Network Evolving

CEO and Co-founder Jack Zhang, a former ANZ and National Australia Bank (NAB) forex solutions designer, believes this is the start of building a payments network, in the same way Facebook has become a giant social network. Zhang says Airwallex’s transparent pricing model avoided inflated margins and minimise market risk.

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.

Digital Banking Layer

Zhang's firm has built a digital banking layer and a digital compliance layer across traditional banking infrastructure, and claims to be offering a faster, cheaper way of making payments.

The start-up’s technology meant it could support thousands of transactions per second and undercut existing payment networks by being more cost-effective, helping businesses automate and scale their international payment workflows.

Growing Links With China

«Tencent is the largest internet company in China. It owns WeChat, and they have specific value to us with what we want to do across Asia. The common theme across each of our investors is they are all very bullish about fintech, they see a big opportunity for fintech in the next decade,» said Zhang.

The CEO of Fintech Australia, 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