Nigerian Payments Startup Flutterwave Raises $250M, Valued At $3B
The latest big fundraising round in the fintech world has come from an unlikely place; Africa. Flutterwave, a payments startup based in Lagos, Nigeria, has raised $250mn in Series D funding valuing it at more than $3bn. The round was led by B Capital Group, a California-based investment firm. Other participants included Salesforce Ventures, Lux Capital, and Tiger Global, a previous investor.
$250mn marks one of the largest single funding rounds for an African startup. At a valuation of around $3bn, Flutterwave has become Africa’s most valuable privately-held startup. It eclipsed Opay and Chipper Cash, two fellow fintech startups, to that position. Both companies were valued at $2bn from their most recent funding rounds.
- According to CB Insights, VC funding for startups has lately reached unprecedented rates, from $294bn in 2020 to $621bn in 2021. The biggest beneficiaries of the VC boom have been Nothern American and European startups, but some minor portion has reached Africa and driven VC funding in the continent to a record high; $5bn in 2021.
- Most VC-funded African startups are in the fintech sector. Of the ten most valuable tech companies in the continent, just one isn’t in fintech.
Flutterwave provides an online infrastructure for merchants across the African continent to accept payments easily. The startup was founded in 2016 and has experienced rapid growth ever since. Including this Series D round, it has raised nearly $500mn from VCs, an outlier for an African startup.
Flutterwave has three co-founders; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Olugbenga Agboola (CEO), and Adeleke Adekoya. Interestingly, Aboyeji also co-founded Andela, a tech talent placement startup that raised funding at a $1.5bn valuation last year. Andela connects African software developers with technology companies from the Western hemisphere. There are less than ten billion-dollar startups from Africa, and Aboyeji co-founded two.
- Flutterwave said it has processed over $16bn in transactions since launching in 2016. The company takes a cut of between 1-4% of all transactions, implying significant revenue from its reported gross volume. Flutterwave operates in 34 African countries and says over 900,000 merchants have signed up on its platform.
Flutterwave’s $250mn round hints at a good year for African startups. It seems that the boom that saw the continent raise record venture capital funding will continue in full force this year.