Flutterwave is now Africa’s most valuable startup

Flutterwave Inc., an Africa and emerging markets-focused payments firm, more than tripled its valuation in less than a year to over $3 billion following its latest fund-raising.

B Capital Group led the $250 million round, with participation from Alta Park Capital LP, Whale Rock Capital and Lux Capital, Flutterwave said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The investment has enabled the company to become the “highest valued” African startup, it said.

The company will use the funds to expand through mergers and acquisitions in Africa and the Middle East in the coming months, said Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Olugbenga Agboola. “We are thinking Egypt or Morocco” and could consider an initial public offering in the medium to short-term, Agboola said in an interview, without giving further details.

Flutterwave’s round comes amid increasing interest in Africa as investors target a young and tech-savvy population that’s quickly adopting online financial transactions. Last year, Africa-focused startups raised a record $5 billion.

The funding announcement confirmed a Bloomberg News report in October on the company’s funding plans. Flutterwave reached a $1 billion valuation in last March after raising $170 million in a round led by Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global Management.

Founded in Nigeria in 2016, Flutterwave facilitates cross-border transactions in multiple currencies for companies, including Uber Technologies Inc., Booking.com and Alibaba’s Alipay. It has processed transactions valued at more than $16 billion in dozens of African countries, and has expanded beyond payments products to an online marketplace as well as lending to small businesses.

Flutterwave’s Agboola, a Nigerian software engineer, has been involved in finance and technology for more than a decade. He contributed to the development of solutions at companies including PayPal.

The San Francisco-based company, with operations from the Nigerian commercial hub of Lagos to Kenya’s capital Nairobi, will continue to grow in East Africa. It will also expand presence in Francophone African nations such as Senegal and Cameroon, said Agboola.

“We’re also thinking beyond Africa,” Agboola said, referring to plans for Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the Middle East.

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