Inside the USD 1B+ club

Beyond Money? The Non-VC DNA In Africa’s First Homegrown Tech Unicorn

By  |  September 30, 2021

When Chase Coleman’s much-watched Tiger Global Management went into streaks with New York-based private equity firm Avenir Growth Capital to cubmaster a multimillion-dollar venture investment into a 5-year-old payments startup, the concept of “an African tech startup unicorn” finally landed on all fours. 

Tiger already had pawprints in the African VC landscape—having previously invested in Takealot and iROKOtv—but the March 2020 deal marked the first time both investors were digging into the obviously illustrious African fintech industry. Together, they led an unusually-sized Series C round which birthed another African startup unicorn, and an uncontended one at that. 

Thanks to that high-profile Series C of USD 170 Mn, the Nigeria-founded fintech’s valuation fluttered to over USD 1 Bn to make it become what many refer to as “the first true African unicorn”—founded by Africans, built for Africa, grown in Africa and, of course, with an alicorn-shaped crown on its pan-African efforts in less than 10 years of operation. 

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