Building a borderless business from day one with Airwallex’s Ravi Adusumilli
- With new payments tech, firms can launch with global ambitions from day one, according to Adusumilli, Airwallex's executive general manager of Americas and svp of partnerships.
- Adusumilli joins us on the podcast to talk about Airwallex's own story, which began in a coffee shop in Melbourne and now takes the form of a global payments infrastructure firm.
In this episode of Tearsheet Live, I'm joined by Ravi Adusumilli, the executive general manager of Americas and senior vice president of partnerships at Airwallex. Ravi oversees the company's strategy and operations in the Americas, identifying opportunities to drive the company's regional growth. He also oversees an international team across the US, APAC, and EMEA managing Airwallex's global network of strategic and financial partnerships.
Prior to Airwallex. Ravi was head of global partnerships at Pinterest, and also held a number of executive leadership roles across several fast growth startups and tech businesses including tile, Netflix, Hitachi and Hewlett Packard.
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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.
- Intro and welcome.0:35
- Welcome to the show
- Building a borderless business from day one.
- Going global is the right time to go global.1:57
- Airwallex started eight years ago as a small business, serving global customers and seeing the pain firsthand. Now it has 20 offices worldwide and 1500 people.
- Ravid believes going global is the right thing to do from day one, and it should be something businesses should do from the start.
- The complexity of running a regulated business.4:23
- The complexity of banking partnerships and regulation in each country, even in the US, and how Airwallex helps businesses navigate through that complexity.
- The complexity behind the scenes of taxes.
- Airwallex's journey from a small coffee shop in Melbourne to a major fintech platform, expanding from the east to the west.
- How the company has expanded.8:51
- The company has been expanding in multiple ways, starting in Melbourne, Australia, then expanding all over the world, and now with 20 different offices.
- The journey has evolved both on the product side.
- Launching a global business from day one.10:21
- How much easier it has gotten to launch a global business from day one.
- What it would take to be a global financial business.
- What makes a good partner?11:55
- The industry is still evolving. Airwallex also helps address specific verticals within this complexity of the journey.
- The three trends Ravi thinks about in cross-border payments: cost-effectiveness, faster, and more secure.
- Passion and spending time in partnerships, because no company can and will want to do everything.
- 50+ financial partnerships are critical for Airwallex to be able to operate in every region.
- What is a partnership like with OurCrowd?16:14
- Airwallex's partnership with online investment platform OurCrowd, which invests in startups outside. The underlying payment mechanism of simplifying all that is powered by Airwallex.
- How partnerships in finance and financial services differ from the role Ravi had at Pinterest.
- How do you work with financial partners?18:52
- The journey with financial partners starts earlier, and the journey with other partnerships comes later, depending on whether it is a credit card scheme or a bank or both.
- The relationships with banks today are not just regulatory, but also product-driven innovation.
- Airwallex works with a broad set of banking partners, 50+ across the globe, and there is a cohesive set of value propositions that they can bring to customers.
- What is Airwallex's role in the ecosystem?24:50
- Building an ecosystem so companies can operate on top of that. It is working closely with all of the schemes globally.
- Where the world will be in a couple years.
- Airwallex is becoming simpler, faster and more cost-effective, and takes as much complexity outside of just payments.
- How Airwallex is helping embedded finance type use cases