If the lure of cross-border payments — the B2B kind, especially — is heating up, so too is funding in the space. News this past week spotlighted some deal-making and some fundraising.
International payments firm Airwallex stated earlier in the month that it had raised $80 million, tied to Series B funding that also included Series A investors of note, such as Tencent and Sequoia Capital China. The total funding to date comes to $102 million. The money, as the company explained, is being earmarked to boost the production of the firm’s cross-border technology, global in scale. Of focus will be the connections between APAC, North America and Europe.
With a bit more granular detail, the firm will devote a “notable” percentage of that recent funding to bolstering the financial inclusion for SMBs in the Hong Kong market, where as stated in this space it is applying for a Virtual Banking license, with additional efforts seen in Hong Kong.
Also germane to the B2B payments market, with an international flair, one firm’s divestiture is another firm’s acquisition. Earlier this week, it was reported that Saxo Bank has divested Banking Circle. In turn EQT, the investment firm, through two of its own firms, has acquired Banking Circle.
Banking Circle processes $70 billion annually in cross-border payments, working with partner banks, focused on direct clearing access. The existing management team will remain in place. The near term roadmap includes growth in new and existing assets. Banking Circle has been listed as being among the top five non-bank providers.
In company specific news, a joint effort by SAP and Thomson Reuters is bringing to market an additional feature that is part of their existing partnership. The end goal is to make cross-border payments a bit more streamlined for treasurers.
The additional detail includes insight into the cost of a cross-border transaction, rendered in terms of a single currency, and offered in conjunction with the SAP Market Rates Management Solution. The firms noted that the new offering will help financial professionals get a more accurate reading on FX costs, with straightforward processing of those calculations, and through what both companies have termed an “out of the box” solution.
Amid other payments infrastructure news, Tungsten Network has debuted eBilling, which is being — well, billed — as a single platform solution for AR departments. The solution dovetails with AP offerings and allows customers to send invoices across a variety of media, from PDF to paper to invoices. The eBilling tool can be used by Tungsten customers and non-customers alike, with an ultimate aim of fostering more efficient cash flow management, in part by reducing late payments. The company had earlier pointed to studies that have shown — via research between Tungsten and the Institute of Finance and Management — that roughly half of firms have paid roughly 10 percent of their invoices to suppliers past the due date.
Technology — and payments infrastructure — has its challenges, of course. A reminder came as, in the U.K., Faster Payments, which processes online payments in that region, was down for as long as four hours over the weekend (on Sunday), with delays in payments stretching until 5:30 pm that day. Faster Payments said that day it had worked with Vocalink to get systems back up and running, with a cause of the outage unknown as of this writing.