Work Supercharging PR for Airwallex – the fastest-grown unicorn in Australian history

Deliverables
  • Communications and PR strategy
  • Media relations
  • Content creation
  • Press office
  • Reporting, monitoring and evaluation
Overview

Just three years after it was founded, international payments fintech Airwallex achieved a valuation of US$1bn – making it the fastest-grown unicorn (a privately-owned company worth over US$1bn) in Australian history. Icon Agency was appointed to lead Airwallex’s international media relations for this milestone announcement. 

After coordinating a hugely impactful media campaign which made international headlines, Icon has been retained as Airwallex’s PR agency.

 
Background

Australia’s fastest-grown unicorn

Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 2015, Airwallex set out a simple goal - to push the boundaries of global financial services capabilities in an increasingly borderless world. The company’s core strength lies in its proprietary tech-driven infrastructure which enables low-cost, high-speed and transparent international collections and payments.

A successful Series C fundraising round led by international giant DST Global closed at US$100m, confirming Airwallex’s status as Australia’s latest and fastest-grown unicorn – and a global start-up with a big future. 

Challenges

Growing public awareness

Pre-unicorn announcement, Airwallex had enjoyed enormous commercial success in China and established a strong profile in the Australian fintech sector, but its recognition amongst the public was limited. Icon was tasked with building upon the huge momentum generated by the Series C fundraising announcement to establish Airwallex as Australia’s leading tech company.

Solution

Breakthrough media campaign

Icon’s media campaign for Airwallex’s Series C fundraising broke as one of the world’s biggest business news items that day. By the end of the week of the announcement, Icon had achieved: 

  • 731 pieces of coverage worldwide, with a reach of 753m – including 101m in the USA and 51m in Australia 
  • Global broadcast reach of 415m
  • 16 articles across Australia tier-one media, including the Australian Financial Review, ABC News and Bloomberg
  • A 144% increase in positive mentions, compared to the three months previous.

Icon has continued to lead media relations for Airwallex across 2019 and into 2020, working on major announcements including a product launch with VISA, integration with Xero and scholarship announcement with the University of Melbourne.

Corporate announcements have been accompanied by an extensive thought leadership program, which has seen two of Airwallex’s co-founders, Jack Zhang and Lucy Liu, become the go-to’s in the Australia media for all matters business and finance.

From March 2019 to March 2020, media coverage on Airwallex in the Australia alone surpassed a mammoth 506m, with 99.5% of reports tracking positive or neutral sentiment. Airwallex closed 2019 being awarded the title of Australia’s number one fintech in KPMG and H2 Ventures’ Fintech100 report.