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The next cross-border payments unicorns

By Daniel Webber | Friday, March 29th, 2019

I want to be a Unicorn

Earlier this week, Airwallex became the latest payments company to achieve unicorn status.

Unicorn Cross-Border Payments

It followed a winning formula that has enabled it to achieve triple digit growth: it operates in a hot sector (B2B cross-border payments), focuses on China and ecommerce and is very tech forward.

China is hot; last month, Chinese financial services firm, Ant Financial, closed its acquisition of WorldFirst for c.$700m.

The next Unicorns in cross-border payments?

We think five companies have a chance:

Two consumer orientated companies, WorldRemit and Remitly are currently large enough to be contenders.

Three business-focused groups also have a shot:

  • Flywire’s receivables product is winning big payment clients from incumbents such as Western Union Business Solutions.
  • Payoneer is riding the ecommerce wave and focusing on China like Airwallex and WorldFirst.
  • Ebury has c.20,000 customers and is one of the fastest growing SME-focused payment companies.

BUT…only one metric is going to make the difference. Growth. Not linear growth, but growth in the 50-100% range, year on year. That’s the growth TransferWise, Revolut and Airwallex have achieved which has made them unicorns.

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