LeonardoAI finds creative solutions and opportunities with Airwallex

Learn more about how fast-growing tech company LeonardoAI uses Airwallex to streamline financial operations.

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4% return on funds

Invested with Airwallex Yield

40 hours of time back

Over a six month period

5 to 6 digits saved

With our FX and Transfer solutions

LeonardoAI is a frontier technology company, leading the future of visual creativity. Leonardo transcends the conventional AI toolset by providing a robust and dynamic platform for creative production. They marry cutting edge generative AI technology with unparalleled creator control, reinforcing human creativity instead of replacing it.




Sydney, Australia

Airwallex Products Used

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When it comes to rapid-growth businesses, it’s not an understatement to say that Australian platform LeonardoAI absolutely exploded globally. 

“We founded Leonardo at the end of 2022,” says co-founder and CFO Chris Gillis. “We’ve generated around a billion images through the platform.”

With over ten million users worldwide and a team of more than 100, LeonardoAI is making huge moves to deliver on their mission of democratising creativity. “We want to empower everyone to be able to realise their vision… Our aim is to give you all the tools you could really ever dream of, powered by AI, to create visual assets; still images, videos and everything in between.”

We’re honoured to be supporting LeonardoAI on their unbelievable growth trajectory. And with products that are agile, scalable and dynamic – Airwallex is the perfect fit to solve the challenges of, and create new opportunities for, this rapidly evolving business when it comes to financial operations. 

When the legacy options aren’t stacking up

Prior to bringing on Airwallex, Chris and his team were using a legacy option that was lacking the agility that their business required. 

“We were banking with one of the majors, and there were a number of issues that presented,” says Chris.

A global business from day one, Chris and his team found that they were losing critical time to finance admin, and getting hit with fees along the way. There were also limitations when it came to growing their funds.

Your funds work harder with Yield

LeonardoAI is one of the first businesses to use our new feature, Airwallex Yield

Yield is a flexible way to grow your multi-currency cash balances with competitive returns. Businesses can grow their funds with low-risk, highly graded liquid investments that have no minimum lock-up period or penalties. 

For LeonardoAI, this ability to avoid lock-up periods provided a point of difference which suited their needs.

“The benefit with the major bank is they offered us term deposits which are at a relatively competitive rate. But especially for the US denominated ones, there was no ability to break the term deposit early. You'd have to lock it in for a period of time.” 

“Even if it's only a month, if something changes tomorrow that's still 30 days you're waiting to get that money out. So we have to keep a decent amount readily available and the foreign currency account wasn't paying any yield.”

Chris Gillis

Co-Founder & CFO, LeonardoAI

“So the Airwallex Yield product gives us over 4% on our USD balances, with usually a two or three business day turnaround time if we need the funds.”

Money movement challenges

For a rapidly expanding business, it’s absolutely essential to have streamlined capabilities when it comes to raising capital. Anything less can slow you down, when your business is very much ramping up.

“We created a foreign currency account and thought that would solve the problems, but then one of the main issues was, we were actively raising.”

“We were doing our seed round and one of the investors, it wasn't even a huge investment – it was about $20,000 – it took them three months to have the investment actually processed and received. The first two times they tried to transfer it, the bank blocked it and asked for more information, but the request for more information was never received, and then it expired and got returned.” 

“It was just creating a significant issue in that we had to devote too much time and energy to navigating around these limitations, which shouldn't have been there just to receive the money from investment.”

Rapid growth needs streamlined tools

When Chris attempted to do a similar transfer with Airwallex, he discovered a much more efficient process. When trialling some investment, the majority of his transfers were delivered instantly.

“There were a couple that got blocked requesting information, but even these were released within a matter of days, instead of months. That was one of the big pain points that Airwallex helped us solve.”

Removing these barriers and shaking off the admin that comes with older solutions has resulted in huge time savings for Chris. 

“With that example of the investor who went back and forth. I probably spent about three to four hours on hold with the bank in total, and had to send around ten emails; with the persistent issue souring the relationship.”

“If you add in the fact that the major bank imposed restrictive online daily transfer limits, resulting in a lot of manual bank visits and repeated small transfers, I would say we're probably looking at – across the last six or seven months – a time saving in the vicinity of maybe 40 hours in terms of financial benefit.”

Competitive rates for competitive businesses

As well as time savings, Airwallex’s FX and Transfer solutions have made a significant impact on LeonardoAI’s bottom line. With our tools, businesses can access bank-beating rates no matter the transaction size - and skip the hidden fees as well. 

“The foreign exchange rate was a lot more competitive – fee free and at a much lower buy/sell spread through Airwallex.”

Chris Gillis

Co-Founder & CFO, LeonardoAI

Compared to what the major bank was charging us, we would have saved five to six digits I'd say in total.

Relieving administrative burdens with virtual cards

A favourite Airwallex feature of the LeonardoAI team is our Borderless Cards. With one card – which can be issued to a team member virtually in minutes – employees can pay for expenses in multiple currencies. 

“We have pretty significant USD expenses that come through quite regularly. And some of them you can only pay by card, you can't pay via direct debit,” explains Chris.

“One of our major weekly expenses was above our bank’s daily transfer limit, and the bank didn't offer cards for the foreign currency account. So it was just creating a significant financial & administrative burden, whereas Airwallex helped solve that – we just created a company card.”

Chris Gillis

Co-Founder & CFO, LeonardoAI

We were able to set our USD transaction limit as high as we wanted, within reason. And Airwallex automatically uses the currency matching the debit, if funds are available. If native currency funds aren’t available, it automatically converts at a competitive fx rate, with no fee. So it was just helping to simplify things and reduced our expenses a lot.

“As we became more comfortable with Airwallex and used it more, we issued all of our BDMs with employee cards as well, whether virtual or physical. And that just enabled us to streamline things a lot and solved a number of problems that we were facing by just using a major bank as a global business.”

Supporting tech to grow without limits

LeonardoAI is an incredible example of an Australian business that is at the forefront of global technology. We’re passionate about assisting tech businesses with big ambitions, and our agile tools are perfectly matched to support rapid expansion. 

When innovative tech implements innovative tech, limits disappear. So don’t restrict yourself to a traditional option, Chris advises. 

“I would recommend being open to embracing these newer technologies and properly understanding the benefit that they can provide to your business, both in terms of financial upside, as well as in terms of reducing opportunity costs by simplifying your processing and allowing you to get more hours back in your day.”

“From all the options that I've seen, Airwallex was the clear winner in the space for what we were looking for. So for a global business especially, I just don't think you should restrict yourselves to a major bank – I think that there's a huge benefit to be gained. You can still use a major bank for your day-to-day transactions, but using a platform like Airwallex to support you on the global front is pretty vital.”

Learn more about Airwallex’s groundbreaking product suite, or get started by signing up for a free account now. 

Note: The image for this case study was created using LeonardoAI. Disclaimer: The information contained herein is factual information only and is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product.

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