Flutterwave: How this African Payment Unicorn Works

  • Categories: Fintech, Payments, B2B, API
  • Website: https://flutterwave.com/

Flutterwave is a payment technology company that offers banks, businesses and individuals in Africa seamless and secure payment experiences.

This startup started out as a payment platform for accepting online payments and has gone on to broaden its product suite beyond payments.

Flutterwave Products

flutterwave company

Its product offerings are:

  • Checkout (Rave): For Collecting payments online or in-store from customers around the world in over 30 currencies.
  • Barter by Flutterwave: a mobile app for sending and receiving money instantly.
  • Send by Flutterwave: a remittance product for making instant money transfers from various countries around the world using different payment options to mobile money wallets, bank accounts, and cash pick-up locations in Africa.
  • Flutterwave Commerce: a suite of e-commerce tools for selling online under the umbrella — These tools include the Flutterwave storePayment links and  Invoicing.
  • Card issuing: a service that lets large corporate entities, small businesses, and individuals create and manage their own virtual and physical cards.
  • FaaS (Fintech -as-a-Service): a solution which helps businesses become Fintech companies by embedding financial services into their products using Flutterwave’s APIs.
  • Capital: a lending service for merchants and businesses who are Flutterwave’s users to borrow up to $20,000 to grow their business.
  • Grow: a B2B product that simplifies the process of registering and incorporating a business in the US, UK, and Nigeria from anywhere by removing all the complexity of paperwork and legal procedures.
  • Disha: a platform for creatives and makers acquired by Flutterwave.
  • Flutterwave’s payments network isn’t only accessible via mobile and web channels, but also via USSD, and Point of Sale (POS) channels as well.

Flutterwave Countries

Flutterwave is available in the following countries:

  • Nigeria
  • Ghana
  • Cameroon
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mauritius
  • Rest of Europe
  • Rwanda
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Zambia

Flutterwave Valuation, Funding & Investors

Flutterwave is valued at $3 Billion. The startup has raised a total of $474.5M over 11 funding rounds with the Series D, the latest of the rounds.

The startup’s investors include;

  • Tiger Global Management, Lux Capital, Green Visor Capital, Salesforce Ventures, B Capital Group, Glynn Capital Management, Whale Rock Capital Management, Alta Park Capital, LPAvenir Growth Capital, Headline formerly e.ventures), Greycroft Partners, FIS. Endeavor Catalyst, Visa, CRE Venture Capital, MasterCard, Fintech Collective, 4DX Ventures, Raba Capital, Y Combinator, Plug and Play, Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator, Rayyan Islam, Arab Angel Fund, VC FinTech Accelerator, Lynett Capital, and Golden Palm Investments.

Also See: Twiga Foods: Food & Retail Distribution Platform in Africa

Flutterwave Scandal

David Hundeyin’s wrote a piece shedding light on the corporate shortcomings of the company.

The company’s CEO was accused of improper behaviour with some female employees and insider trading.

Despite the seemingly weak attempt to quell this corporate gloomy cloud hanging over this African unicorn startup, it is evident that this is a startup that has failed at some things but has also done great at some of the other things that matter. And shows that this s startup still has a lot to learn in its bid to seamlessly connect Africa to the world’s global economy.


The co-founder’s of Flutterwave are Iyinoluwa AboyejiOlugbenga Agboola (CEO), and Adeleke Adekoya (Board Member).


  • Interswitch
  • Paga
  • Fawry
  • MFS Africa
  • Chipper cash
  • TALA
  • Jumbo
  • Paystack

Flutterwave’s Flywheel

A business flywheel is a very useful tool for understanding a company or its systems. It shows how A increases, and how it leads to more of B, which in turn increases C. As C increases it flows back to A and the cycle begins anew.

Like compounding interest, investments in one area of the business flow through to other areas of the business. Setting off a series of accumulating advantages that the company enjoys over time.

A closer look at Flutterwave’s Flywheel:

Network Effects

Popular VC firm a16z defines Network effects as: “when a product becomes more valuable to its users as more people use it“.

From this definition, you can argue that Flutterwave has network effects because it has been able to attract more customers (merchants & consumers) by helping them make more sales with its checkout tech, its commerce and creator tools, and make payments with its card-issuing service and payment app.

Which has led to significantly more volume transactions on the platform.

Its strong payment infrastructure has enabled it to offer embedded finance to businesses, a business growth service, and a credit facility product for businesses on the platform.

Its network effects offer the startup a strategic position in the payments space in Africa.

Economies of Scale

Flutterwave’s economies of scale are evident with its transnational value doubling almost every year since it began operations. As the density of startup’s network increases, so does the number of payments that goes through the platform

The company’s pricing has also been top of the market, which has contributed to its economies of scale.

2-Sided Network Effect

Merchant payment markets are naturally 2-sided. Where payers and payees have different needs, incentives and reasons for using a particular product.

Flutterwave has been able to scale both sides of the market in a way that generates sufficient momentum and critical mass among merchants as well as individual consumers.

Proprietary Tech

When it comes to the digital payment landscape in Africa, This unicorn startup’s higher-tech performance (proprietary tech) has brought about an arguably better payment product than you can find anywhere in the African market.

Which has in turn brought in more customers and has increased the company’s experience in building and improving its product suite.

Brand Affinity

Flutterwave is very much associated with its brand value proposition: Easier digital payments for Africans.

Its’ network effects and economies of scale have led to more merchants and consumers using the company’s platform.

The company’s network will continue to grow as it expands into other African countries, which will lead to more brand affinity for the company and also bring about lower acquisition costs for customers.

However, there’s uncertainty about how its latest corporate scandal has affected its brand.

Switching Costs

Despite Flutterwave’s other flywheel advantages, the company hasn’t been able to replicate a switching costs advantage.

African customers have become adept at switching products as the market isn’t built in a way where one company has enough moat to wholly hold on to customers and avoid them switching to alternatives.

This is very evident in the telco industry as well as the banking industry.

Fundamentally, Flutterwave’s product and strategic initiatives fall under 3 main goals:

  • Connect Africa seamlessly to global commerce.
  • Support merchant partner growth and promote internet-focused entrepreneurship.
  • Encourage growth in industries outside Payments. e,g sports, entertainment and education.

See more on Flutterwave’s flywheel 

Latest News on Flutterwave

Flutterwave Accused of Corruption in Kenya with $56.7 Million seized from the Fintech Unicorn

Flutterwave appoints former American Express Exec as New CFO

Flutterwave returns as Sponsor for Bigbrother Naija

Flutterwave launches in Tanzania

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