Dealflow | March 11, 2021

Nigeria’s Flutterwave passes $1 billion valuation with $170 million round

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, March 11 – Three’s a herd – of African unicorns. The close of digital payments company Flutterwave’s Series C round makes it at least the third African tech company to reach a 10-figure valuation.

U.S.-based investors Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global led the round.  

Flutterwave, based in Lagos and San Francisco, launched in 2016 to help merchants, banks and other businesses handle digital payments across borders, payment platforms and currencies. It now has nearly 300,000 business users in 20 African countries.

The company, which scored early backing from Y Combinator, saw uptake boom in 2020 as more businesses transitioned online (see, “Post-pivots, African tech startups are peddling pandemic resilience”). TechCrunch reports that Flutterwave’s revenues more than doubled in the past 12 months. 

Companies like Flutterwave and Paystack, another Nigerian digital payments company, are helping dissolve barriers and costs of doing business across Africa’s borders and internationally.

Flutterwave’s unicorn status follows that of digital payments peer Interswitch, which scored $200 million from Visa in 2019. E-commerce platform Jumia has experienced significant valuation swings since going public in 2019. Paystack, was acquired last year by Stripe for $200 million. All four are based in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest venture capital market (see, “Seed-stage is a bright spot as emerging market investors bet on the digital disruption“).