Airwallex takes pain and cost out of international payments
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Airwallex takes pain and cost out of international payments

Corporates’ longstanding complaint on banks’ payments offerings is that they don’t know what they are being charged for but suspect it is too much. Airwallex now provides an alternative at global scale.

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Photo: Reuters

Bird, formerly MessageBird, is an electronic marketing business that provides 29,000 corporate clients with the technology to communicate with their customers by email, text, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat and iMessage.

Founded in the Netherlands in 2011 as a deep-tech telecoms company, it has grown into a customer-relationship management, sales and payments business, and is now integrated into Shopify, WooCommerce and many other marketplaces, including Matahari, the largest retail platform in Indonesia.

Other big customers include Google, Facebook and Uber.

Bird says it processes close to five trillion messages a year, promising brands that it can build direct connections to engaged customers, so reducing their cost of customer acquisition through advertising, while turning occasional customers into repeat subscribers.

But like many technology companies that grow fast and do large amounts of business across borders, it faces one big complexity: handling the money.

Bird pays telecoms carriers for bulk capacity that it on-sells to thousands of business customers around the world, many seeking revenue outside their home markets.

The nature of Bird’s business – with multiple currencies flowing in and out of operating entities around the world – had led to a fragmented financial operating system, split across more than 20 banking partners.

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