There’s been an undoubted boom recently in Nigerian tech, more specifically among fintech service platforms. These platforms are modernizing banking by creating intuitive solutions which are feasible on a grand scale. Global Investors have been vocal about this potential and they are putting their money where their mouths are.
Nigerian payments company Flutterwave has become the latest company to attain unicorn status after it announced that it had raised $170 million, valuing the company over $1 billion.
According to Tech Crunch, New York-based private investment firm Avenir Growth Capital and US hedge fund and investment firm Tiger Global led the Series C round. New and existing investors who participated include DST Global, Early Capital Berrywood, Green Visor Capital, Greycroft Capital, Insight Ventures, PayPal, Salesforce Ventures, Tiger Management, WorldpayFIS 9yards Capital. The Series C round comes a year after Flutterwave closed its $35 million Series B and $20 million Series A in 2018. In total, Flutterwave has raised $225 million and is one of the few African startups to have secured more than $200 million in funding.
The only other Nigerian fintech company worth $1 billion valuation besides Flutterwave is Interswitch after Visa acquired a 20% stake in 2019. This number increases to four in Africa when including publicly traded African e-commerce company, Jumia and Egyptian payments company Fawry. Only GTB and Zenith have a higher market cap than Flutterwave, a 5 year old business.
In a statement, Agboola gives credit to the company’s more than 300 staff, investors, customers, and regulatory bodies like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for creating the backbone for Flutterwave’s success.
Flutterwave, for instance, launched when the governor just came in. We got our license and scaled our business because of a favorable regime that allowed it to be possible. There are so many trailblazing innovations that we don’t talk about a lot about Nigeria, like the BVN and the NIP system. Nigeria has consistently been at the forefront of payments innovation for over a decade, and all it was possible because of the forward-looking CBN policies.Agboola said that under the current CBN governor’s current administration, the Central Bank has shown a consistent regulatory framework that has allowed fintechs like Flutterwave to thrive.
More About Flutterwave
Launched in 2016 as a Nigerian and U.S.-based payments company with offices in Lagos and San Francisco, Flutterwave helps businesses build customizable payments applications through its APIs. Flutterwave also helps businesses outside Africa to expand their operations on the continent, has an impressive clientele of international companies. Some of them include Booking.com, Facebook, Flywire, and Uber.
Flutterwave says over 290,000 businesses use its platform to carry out payments. And according to the company’s statement, they can do so “in 150 currencies and multiple payment modes including local and international cards, mobile wallets, bank transfers, Barter by Flutterwave.”
Flutterwave wants to become a global payments company, and the Series C investment helps to reach that goal. The company says it plans to use the funds to speed up customer acquisition in its present markets. It will also improve existing product offerings like Barter, where it has over 500,000 users, and introduce new offerings. One such is Flutterwave Mobile, which in the founder’s words “will turn merchants’ mobile devices into a point of sale, allowing them to accept payments and make sales.”
Agboola says his company grew more than 100% in revenue within the past year due to the pandemic without giving specifics on numbers. It also contributed to its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 226% from 2018.