If there was ever a time to be proud of being Nigerian, I daresay this is the time because as embarrassing and incompetent as the Nigerian government continually proves to be, the ‘lazy Nigerian youths’, continue to defy all odds and show that indeed good things can come from this part of the world. This is very evident in the recent doings of Nigerians in not just the Movie and Music Industry, but also the Tech sector.
Flutterwave; a Nigerian FinTech startup that helps businesses facilitate payment by building customizable payment applications through its APIs, recently raised $225 million and has become one of the few African startups to have secured more than $200 million in funding. Counting their most recent cash raise of $170million, their total valuation now amounts to a whopping $1billion.
Hitting the $1 billion valuation means Flutterwave is the third unicorn coming out of Nigeria after a fellow fintech company; Interswitch and e-commerce company, Jumia. Now the most impressive thing about this feat is actually how quickly Flutterwave was able to achieve this as the startup launched in 2016 is less than 10 years old. This huge achievement brings a lot of things into consideration for the average Nigerian youth, Tech enthusiasts, business owners, and investors alike because almost everyone is at this instant equal parts inspired and in awe.
This is because, in addition to their new Unicorn status, Flutterwave has announced a collaboration with Paypal that enables businesses in Africa to receive payments from over 377 million Paypal users. Olugbenga Agboola, the CEO of Flutterwave took to his Twitter to announce this new development.
However, what does this mean for Flutterwave’s seemingly impossible competition? I mean, a lot of us wondered whether or not Paystack ‘shit the bed’ by selling too early to Stripe. While others expected that after being acquired by Stripe for $200m, they’d be the first of the iconic duo to attain the unicorn status. Since they already have over 60,000 businesses using their payment platform in both Nigeria and Ghana. But apparently, the underdog beat them to it as they still remain in the hallmark status.
As the optimist and lofty idealist that I can sometimes be, I love to think that both Flutterwave and Paystack can peacefully co-exist in the African FinTech space but, who am I kidding? As I type, even now that they are both flourishing, the question on everyone’s lips is still, ‘Is Paystack better than Flutterwave?’. ‘Which makes payments easier and faster?’ And let’s be honest, we all know how things will play out in this dog-eat-dog world. One would stay winning and the other would either crumble, be bought off, or slowly relegate into the background. We saw this with Jumia and Konga, Opay and Gokada, and we just might see this with Paystack and Flutterwave. Currently, as far as global and local transactions are concerned, Flutterwave seems to be winning the battle on all fronts.
According to reliable sources, Flutterwave has processed at least 107 million transactions worth $5.4 billion and right now, those numbers have increased to over 140 million transactions worth more than $9 billion. That’s not all, the company, which also helps businesses outside Africa to expand their operations on the continent, currently has an impressive clientele of international companies, including Booking.com, Flywire, and Uber- to mention a few. So the question is, why not Flutterwave?
In all honesty, Flutterwave deserves hearty congratulations and a round of applause. Building in Nigeria with the toxic, draining ecosystem we have here is almost impossible, talk less of attaining the unicorn status and doing so in less than ten years.