It’s 2020 and Airwallex achieved the coveted ‘Unicorn’ status last year. But before becoming a multi-billion dollar cross-border financial startup, they started as a coffee shop.
In this new episode of our ‘A Place for Business’ web series, we had a chat with Neil Luo, the Head of Growth for Airwallex, who shared their story and other impressive business insights.
The CEO for Airwallex, Jack Zhang, and their coffee shop partners back then were trying to buy cups from China when they realised how complicated a simple transaction could be. Needless to say, they realised they had a huge business opportunity right there.
Combining different backgrounds of the team that also includes Xijing Dai, Lucy Liu and Max Li, they came up with the first prototype of a modern solution for global businesses. China was their test market because many Chinese businesses were in need of a solution to pay suppliers overseas. From there, they started thinking how they could build a global financial business infrastructure that would go beyond a payment gateway.
Neil joined the team last year to use his experience to grow the business outside of China, reaching the UK and the USA. For him, the main takeaway when entering new markets is applying the cost-saving culture that many Chinese businesses have with other important requirements for each international market, such as a good user experience, language differences, each market expectation, etc.
The importance of the right investors was also discussed, especially in their case when big banks invested an aggressive amount in their last round of investment, and how it might impact their status as a FinTech.
Their mission is helping businesses scaling globally regardless of their size and where the business is located, after all businesses nowadays are borderless.
On the pandemic, they quickly realised that e-commerce would grow stronger than it would have grown organically in a 10 years timeframe. Remote work has also grown dramatically, and both scenarios are connected to their core values of borderless businesses and how their solution can empower that.
We would like to thank Neil for taking his time to share Airwallex’s story with us.
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