Flutterwave, Africa’s latest unicorn
Nigerian payment processing firm Flutterwave successfully raised $170 Million in new funding to reach a valuation of $1 billion, qualifying the company for a unicorn status in the Fintech industry.
A unicorn startup is one whose valuation exceeds $1 billion. In total, Flutterwave which was launched in 2016 with offices in Lagos, Nigeria, and San Francisco in the United States of America is said to have raised over $225 million in funding, making it part of the exclusive club of African startups to have secured more than $200 million by way of funding.
In a statement by the company, more than 290,000 businesses including NetBet slots make use of its payment gateway to carry out their business transactions in over 120 currencies worldwide with multiple media for payments including local and international debit and credit cards, bank transfers, mobile wallets, and their own tailor made medium, Barter by Flutterwave.
The firm has left its footprints on over 20 countries, with its website very active in 11 African nations.
Flutterwave has partnered with Jumia, Uber, Booking and many other companies, carrying out over $9 billion worth of transactions.
The CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, is confident of the firm’s infrastructural capability to reach more than 33 countries on the continent. In 2019, they partnered with payment giants Visa to launch Barter and Alipay to offer a platform for digital payments between Africa and China.
The company is expected to extend its network into the North African region, where it intends to create a physical presence in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia by the second quarter of 2021.
The move is a shrewd one as the digital payments industry in North Africa and the Middle East is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 13.3% until 2026 due to increased mobile phone and internet penetration in the region.
The company expects to meet fierce competition from the local leader of the industry, Fawry, but is expected to thrive as it has done in Nigeria and indeed much of sub-Saharan Africa even with the presence of competing firms like Paystack and Interswitch.
The goal of the company, as stated by the CEO, is to become a global payments firm. The latest influx of investment makes it easier to reach the goal as the firm is already looking at ways by which it can improve existing products and services while ensuring to introduce some other new ones.
An example of such a product currently in the works is the Flutterwave Mobile platform, which is expected to make merchants’ mobile devices into a point of sale to facilitate seamless and easy payments.
A large chunk of the growth of the company came during the covid pandemic where companies turned to Flutterwave to help regulate their payments, and Flutterwave also launched the Flutterwave Store, a service which helped over 20,000 merchants across 15 African nations to sell their products online seamlessly.
The CEO publicly gave credit to the employees of the firm, numbering about 300, as well as their investors, customers and regulatory bodies for their role in making the company grow by leaps and bounds.
The company has shown its fortitude in standing tall even with competition from Interswitch, which was acquired by Visa in 2019, and Paystack, which was acquired by Stripe in 2020 for about $200 million. One day, Flutterwave may become one of the world’s leading payment gateways, it certainly is on the path.
The editorial unit