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.
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.
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.
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