Flutterwave, a payments processing company, plans to expand to North Africa after raising $170 million in new funding, according to CEO Olugbenga Agboola.
According to Agboola in Lagos, the company will expand its payments network to Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, and will be operational by the middle of the second quarter. According to him, Flutterwave may then establish a physical presence in those countries. He also plans to expand into francophone Africa, stating that “our network must be everywhere” on the continent.
Flutterwave claims to have raised $170 million in a Series C round, valuing the company at over $1 billion, earning it the title of “unicorn.” Agboola’s goal is to make it easier for Africans to start global businesses that can accept payments from all over the world. Flutterwave plans to use the funds raised from Avenir Growth Capital, Tiger Global, and PayPal to speed up customer acquisition and develop new products.
A special thanks to our people, customers, investors, partners, regulators and well wishers for what’s been a challenging, yet fulfilling 4+ years.
Here’s the link to the full press release: https://t.co/t9XzdaXcTi
— Flutterwave (@theflutterwave) March 10, 2021
According to Mordor Intelligence, the digital payments market in North Africa and the Middle East is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 13.3 percent until 2026, driven by mobile phone and Internet penetration. According to Mordor, it’s “critical for the region to have an underlying real-time infrastructure in place to enable these payments.”
Start-up investors have flocked in growing numbers to African fintech since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the African Tech Startups Funding Report, fintech attracted more investment than any other African start-up sector last year, both in terms of amount invested and the number of companies which secured funding.
Founded in 2016, Flutterwave is based in San Francisco and Lagos. It has developed Application Programming Interface (APIs), or software which allows two applications to communicate. This allows clients to develop their own customised payments applications. The company has raised a total of $225m in funding, and in 2020 partnered with Alibaba’s Alipay to offer digital payments between Africa and China.
The digital payments sector has already created a Nigerian unicorn in the form of Interswitch, which sold a 20% stake to Visa in a 2020 deal that valued the company at $1bn.
Interswitch recently declined to comment of speculation of a possible initial public offering (IPO) For Flutterwave, an IPO is “one possible exit route” for investors that the company may consider, Agboola says. He has no timeframe in mind for now. “The goal is to be IPO-ready” though the priority at the moment is to concentrate on serving customers, he adds.