Nigerian payments startup Flutterwave achieves “unicorn” status after $170m funding round

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Nigerian payments startup Flutterwave has closed a US$170 million Series C funding round, the largest amount ever secured by an African tech startup and one that gives it “unicorn” status with a value of over US$1 billion.

Launched in 2016, Flutterwave builds modern payments technology and infrastructure for Africa to enable people and businesses to connect with the global economy. Its solution enables banks and merchants to replace multiple payment integrations with one simple API, which enables processing of any form of payment anywhere in Africa.

The startup is one of Africa’s most-backed, raising US$10 million in Series A funding in August 2017, an extension round in 2018, and a US$35 million Series B in January of last year. It has now added to that funding with a record-breaking Series C round worth US$170 million, which takes the value of the company to over US$1 billion.

US-based investment firms Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global led the round, which also includes new and existing investors including DST Global, Early Capital Berrywood, Green Visor Capital, Greycroft Capital, Insight Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Tiger Management, and WorldpayFIS 9yards Capital. 

Flutterwave has an active presence in 11 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, and at the time of its Series B just over one year ago had processed 100 million transactions valued at over US$5.4 billion for global leaders including Uber and Booking.com. The funding is for expansion into new markers.

“When Flutterwave was founded in 2016, the payments landscape in Africa was highly fragmented so the goal was to build a pan-African platform that simplified payments for everyone. However our successes would not be possible without our amazing team of 300+ employees that work tirelessly to achieve our goals, the trust and support we have received from our investors and customers, and regulatory bodies like the Central Bank of Nigeria which – under the leadership of the current Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele – has remained at the forefront of the significant efforts that are currently being made by African governments to create the enabling environment for technology, innovation and financial inclusion. This humbling support has created the backbone upon which companies like Flutterwave have been able to thrive,” said Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, founder and CEO of Flutterwave.

“As we look to the future, our focus remains the same which is to stand by our 290,000 merchants across Africa every day as they strive to build their mom-and-pop stores into global businesses. We look forward to increasing our investments across the continent and deepening the impact our platform has on lives and livelihoods as we take more businesses in Africa to the World, and at the same time continue to bring more of the World to Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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