The Flutterwave homepage on a mobile phone screen in Abuja, Nigeria, January 21 2020. Picture: REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE
The Flutterwave homepage on a mobile phone screen in Abuja, Nigeria, January 21 2020. Picture: REUTERS/AFOLABI SOTUNDE

Lagos  — Africa-focused fintech firm Flutterwave on Tuesday announced a $35m fundraising round and partnerships with WorldPay and Visa as it targets expansion in north Africa.

The start-up, founded in 2016 by Nigerians and headquartered in San Francisco, specialises in individual and consumer transfers — one of several fintech firms aiming to facilitate and capitalise on Africa’s booming payments market.

As part of the deal, Flutterwave will become the African payment provider for Worldpay’s clients worldwide, making the company the latest African fintech firm to attract global cash and big-name partnerships. While the agreement is not exclusive, it is WorldPay’s only partner on the continent.

Visa’s investment is its first buy in to Flutterwave, with which it joined in 2019 on a consumer payment platform called GetBarter that allows individuals to make payments to one another across borders.

As part of the latest funding round, Flutterwave will scale up and expand that service, allowing it to issue physical and virtual Visa cards and process payments using Visa’s networks.

Visa also bought a 20% stake in Nigerian payments firm Interswitch late in 2019, elevating it to “unicorn” status — a term used for tech companies with a valuation of $1bn or more.

Interswitch, founded in 2002 and also expanding across Africa, is the main platform for Nigeria’s business-to-business transactions, whereas Flutterwave’s main focus is on individual payments — making it more akin to an African Venmo, where people pay each other back or transfer cash to family.

“We have built a technology infrastructure that is steadily being recognised as the bridge to connect the payment system,” Flutterwave’s founder and COE GB Agboola said in a statement.

“We are excited to be working with our newest commercial partners, Visa and WorldPay FIS, and investors to build the dominant payments platform in Africa.”

Business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan forecast that Nigeria’s fintech revenue  will grow from $153.1m in 2017 to $543.3m  by 2022.

Flutterwave’s main backer in the fundraising round was venture capital firm Greycroft & eVentures, with other large backers including CRE Ventures, WorldPay FIS, Visa and Green Visor.

 Reuters