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Women Love Tech interviewed the Co-Founder and President of Airwallex, Lucy Liu, to learn more about the company and its latest updates, her selection in the Ernst and Young’s Top 22 Entrepreneurial Winning Women in APAC, and how we can encourage more women to go into tech.
Read the full interview below.
Tell us about your EY program selection and what it means for you?
I am honoured to join 21 other outstanding female leaders in this year’s cohort of Ernst and Young’s Top 22 Entrepreneurial Winning Women in APAC. Any initiative that supports women’s successes – no matter the role or industry – has a hugely important role to play. Celebrating successful female leaders can only work to challenge misconceptions around what women in business can achieve.
What were the obstacles you overcame (as a woman in tech)? How can we encourage more women in technology?
As much as I do not let my age or gender define me, there still are the occasional challenging moments. I was 25 years old when I co-founded Airwallex. My age – along with being a woman – did not always work in my favour. In the early days, people would often double-take when they read from my business card I was a co-founder. I even had someone say to me, “That was a really good conversation, but can I meet your boss next time?”.
Fixing all the challenges and biases that women face is not going to be easy, and will not happen overnight. However, let’s acknowledge the positive steps that the tech industry has taken in recent times. There has been more conversation, awareness and conscientiousness on gender diversity and equality in the last few years than ever before.
In my view, the most powerful way we can generate meaningful positive change for women in tech is for tech businesses to challenge their culture to attract more women. The first and most important change has to be attitudinal – any stereotypical behaviour within teams needs to be nipped in the bud and addressed early.
The second step is to introduce programs that will benefit women. This includes the likes of mentoring and development initiatives, but we’ve also found that introducing flexible working arrangements, such as remote working policies, have had a significant impact on helping our teams manage work and family responsibilities.
An important way that female leaders can support and encourage other women is to be a beacon for them. For me, this involves embracing every opportunity that comes my way in my own professional life, and being an active member of the fintech community. By raising my profile as a founder, leader, and role model, I hope to inspire other women to consider a career in tech.
What is the latest update on Airwallex?
We have had a series of product launches that are transforming Airwallex from a cross-border payments provider to a fully integrated end-to-end financial solutions for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Earlier this year, we debuted ourAirwallex Borderless Cards in partnership with Visa. The new card product allows our customers to pay their suppliers and subscriptions instantly. It is currently available in virtual form, where it can be generated in seconds on the Airwallex platform. We will soon launch physical cards – and subsequently in digital wallets – that business owners can create for themselves and their employees to empower their teams to make purchasing decisions.
The launch is followed by a new integration with accounting software Xero, to enable easier and more seamless payment reconciliation. The integration went live earlier this month and means our SMB customers are able to connect their multi-currency financial transactions in Airwallex to Xero, and view a daily update of their transactions through their Xero bank feeds. This simplifies and speeds up the reconciliation process to free them from labour-intensive manual processes so they can instead focus on driving business growth.
These two major product releases were in response to our customers’ requests – we listened to what they needed, and we delivered. These are really exciting milestones as we continue to support the financial needs of today’s modern businesses.
About Lucy Liu
As Co-founder and President of Airwallex, she is responsible for the company’s branding and operations. Before establishing Airwallex in 2015, Lucy was an investment consultant in CICC (China International Capital Corporation) and served as a board director of Hong Stone Investment Development Limited, a Hong Kong-based investment company.
Lucy has won a series of awards for her outstanding entrepreneurial achievements including Ernst & Young “Top 22 Entrepreneurial Winning Women in APAC” (2019), Ernst & Young “Australian Entrepreneur of the Year” (2018) and Forbes “30 Young Entrepreneurs in Asia” (2017).
Robyn Foyster is an award-winning journalist and former Editor-In-Chief of The Australian Women's Weekly. She is also the owner and publisher of Women Love Tech, Game Changers and The Carousel. Robyn's tech company produced the augmented reality app for Sydney's Vivid Festival in 2018 and the retail app Sweep. She is a speaker and a judge of the Telstra Business Awards and Mumbrella Awards. Robyn is passionate about supporting women in STEM.