Fintech & e-commerce

Fintech Funding In Africa Reaches Record High As Flutterwave Becomes Continent’s Highest-Valued Startup

This week fintech company Flutterwave earned the rank of Africa’s highest-valued startup with a $3 billion valuation that came with a fresh $250 million Series D round of funding.

The news was certainly celebrated by the company, but also continent-wide, especially taken in the context of an overall rise in fintech funding to African startups.

In 2021, fintech companies headquartered in Africa raised $2 billion, per Crunchbase data. That contrasts with $230 million raised in 2020. (Worth noting however is that Flutterwave’s funding is not actually included in these numbers since it is technically headquartered in San Francisco much like fellow Africa-operating fintech company Chipper Cash).

San Francisco-headquartered and Lagos-based Flutterwave dominates the African payments space with its self-proclaimed mission to “create endless possibilities for customers and businesses in Africa and emerging markets.”

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The company got its start in 2016 and has consistently seen investor confidence through a total of $475 million in funding raises, according to Crunchbase data.

All Africa’s unicorns are private fintechs

Flutterwave’s place in the spotlight gives us an opportunity to look at other unicorns in Africa’s growing herd. The company leads a small group of African unicorns in the fintech space, including OPay, Wave Mobile Money and Interswitch. In fact, all four of Africa’s unicorns are in the fintech space.

Flutterwave’s rise

Flutterwave CEO and founder Olugbenga “GB” Agboola
Flutterwave CEO and founder Olugbenga “GB” Agboola [photo courtesy of Flutterwave]

Flutterwave CEO and founder Olugbenga “GB” Agboola is a Nigeria-born entrepreneur and graduate of the MBA program at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Prior to Flutterwave, he worked as an application engineer at PayPal and in product management at Google Wallet.

At its core, Flutterwave offers a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API. The company also recently launched an online marketplace and a remittance service that lets customers send money to and from Africa—strong forward moves for a company with consistent raises.

If anything, Flutterwave’s raise could signal growing investor confidence in the continent and specifically fintech overall. Its recent funding backers include a greatest-hits list as B Capital Group takes the lead, with participation from Alta Park Capital, Whale Rock Capital and Lux Capital, according to the company.

Several existing investors who participated in previous rounds also joined this round, including, Glynn Capital, Avenir Growth, Tiger Global, Green Visor Capital and Salesforce Ventures 1.

Check out Flutterwave on Crunchbase’s top 30 list of companies founded by Black and Latinx entrepreneurs that raised the most funding in 2021.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

  1. Salesforce Ventures is an investor in Crunchbase. It has no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.


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