Meet Africa’s most valued fintech start-up

Technology / 8 October 2019, 07:45am / Wesley Diphoko

The accelerator of the worlds most valuable startups, Y-Combinator, has listed an African tech startup, Flutterwave, among its most valuable startups. Photo: Pixabay

CAPE TOWN – The accelerator of some the worlds most valuable startups, Y-Combinator, has listed an African tech startup, Flutterwave, among its most valuable startups.

The companies listed as of October 2019 had an astounding cumulative valuation of more than $155 billion. Nineteen of all the companies had a valuation of more that $1bn.

Flutterwave is a fintech company which is the key enabler of payments between companies in Africa. The tech company is originally from Nigeria and has offices in California.

Earlier in 2019, Fast Company magazine listed the tech start-up among 10 innovative companies in Africa. According to the magazine, the winners were selected based on those “making the most profound impact on both industry and culture”.

Flutterwave was founded in 2016 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and co-founder Olugbenga Agboola, and a team of African payments, technology and banking veterans from Standard Bank, Google Wallet, Andela and PayPal, among others.

Aboyeji started Flutterwave after discovering that there were payment challenges in Africa amongst businesses, while he was still involved with his previous company Andela, which focuses on recruiting and training African developers. 

Aboyeji experienced challenges with sending money into Africa and had to process payment every one to three months in order to avoid incurring too many fees. 

It also took at least a week to transfer money to local bank accounts. Aboyeji believed that solving the payment challenges for merchant partners across the continent could unlock billions of dollars.

Olugbenga Agboola another co-founder, also serves as the chief executive of Flutterwave. Prior to co-founding Flutterwave, Olugbenga contributed to the development of fin-tech solutions at several tech companies and financial institutions such as PayPal, Standard Bank, among others. 

He is a serial entrepreneur with two successful exits under his belt. He is a software engineer with a master’s degree in information technology security and behavioural engineering and an MBA. 

In a continent where startups struggle to access funding, the startup boasts funders such as Mastercard, CRE Ventures, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, Raba Capital.  

Recently, Flutterwave partnered with Jack Ma’s company Alibaba via Ali Pay, the digital wallet of China’s largest e-commerce platform,  in a move to foster payments between Africa and China and open up Africa’s market to Chinese buyers. 

AliPay has a significant network in China which will enable Flutterwave to play a critical role in enabling China-Africa trade. 

The company operates across the continent in countries such as Ghana, Kenya and recently South Africa. Flutterwave was founded in 2016 and currently collaborates with companies such as Uber and to enable payments within the continent.

The African tech startup is now listed as a graduate of the famous Y-Combinator with companies such as DropBox, Airbnb and Reddit. 

Y-Combinator is known for developing great tech startups. Each year it selects startups that receive USD 150 000 for 7% equity in the startups. These startups then move to Y-Combinator in California for 3 months to get support, mentorship, support and more funding.

If Flutterwave continues in this trajectory, it will play a significant role in enabling digital inclusion in the continent and in the process become another unicorn in Africa.


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