Fintech fiefdoms

Flutterwave 3.0: Africa’s Highest Valued Startup Bares “Stripe For Africa” Plot Twist

By  |  February 21, 2022

Flutterwave seems to be on a roll. After sending shockwaves through the ecosystem last week with a USD 250 M Series D that tripled its valuation to over USD 3 B in just 12 months, the Nigerian tech company appears to be plotting the creation of its very own fintech fiefdom – in a Flutterwave ecosystem of sorts.

The San Francisco-headquartered and Lagos-based startup has unveiled a significant re-brand and identity at Flutterwave 3.0, a virtual event held on Friday, 18th February 2022. Following Wednesday’s announcement of its mega funding round, Flutterwave is now rolling out its new and reimagined identity, to affirm its commitment to creating endless possibilities for all, through technology, as well as introducing new products and services that take the technology leader beyond payments.

During the Youtube-hosted event for Flutterwave 3.0 (which intentionally or unintentionally fits in nicely with all the recent noise around Web 3.0 or Web3), the brand launched a series of products, including;

  • A Fintech as a Service (FaaS) solution which helps startups of all sizes quickly become Fintech companies using Flutterwave’s pre-built API and solutions. 
  • Capital, a technology platform for businesses and consumers to access Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) & Merchant lending from regulated and certified credit providers.  
  • Grow, a B2B product that helps entrepreneurs easily incorporate their businesses globally. 
  • Checkout, a new checkout experience that is 5x faster, reducing drop-off by 60 percent.  
  • Card issuing, technology platform to enable businesses to issue both Mastercard virtual and physical debit/prepaid cards to their customers in partnership with Mastercard. These solutions remain subject to regulatory approval. 

Additional improvements to existing products include; a new powerful dashboard, Barter v4, and an AI-powered compliance process. The Flutterwave visual rebrand comes with 6 new primary colours which depict creativity, motivation, passion, ease, robustness and eagerness.

The new Flutterwave logo

Flutterwave launched in 2016, initially building innovative financial infrastructure to enable payments for banks and institutions, before expanding into checkouts and gateways for businesses of all sizes.

Having invested in and built out a suite of products and services targeted at both consumers and businesses (both global and local), Flutterwave says it has gone on to serve over 900,000 merchants, process over 200 million transactions worth over USD 16 B to date, across 34 countries in Africa, which has led to the company becoming one of Africa’s earliest unicorns in March 2021.

“We’re growing and for us, payments have become a means to an end,” Founder and CEO, Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, said.

“Every part of our lives includes some form of transaction. Beyond powering those transactions, we want to also create those transactions. We want to help event organizers seamlessly register and sell out their events, we want to help artists receive money for their craft, we want to help entrepreneurs incorporate their businesses, we want to help startups build financial technology products easily and we want to create endless possibilities for all through technology. Our new identity is a system that recognises how far we’ve come in our mission. It gives us space to include all of our dreams and aspirations for businesses and customers. It gives us the freedom to do and be more. We’re excited for this new chapter in our growth,” he added.

Friday’s event sees Flutterwave affirm its commitment to exploring more areas of growth for businesses, startups and individuals. The move comes after a significant diversification of products in 2021, whereby the company announced the acquisition of Disha, a creator platform where creatives can receive money from across the world for their craft.

In the same year, Flutterwave went on to introduce Market, an extension of its e-commerce solution, Store to improve visibility and by extension, revenue for small businesses. Alongside global Afrobeats superstar Wizkid, in December Flutterwave launched a remittance solution, Send, to help anyone in the world send and receive money.

Flutterwave 3.0, if it all comes together, could see Flutterwave position itself strongly to be the dominant fintech platform on the continent.

Some might even say Flutterwave is well on its way to upstaging local rival Paystack to become the actual “Stripe for Africa,” which is somewhat ironic given that Paystack has long been unofficially associated with that title. Interestingly, Paystack even sort of literally became “Stripe, for Africa” when U.S. fintech giant, Stripe, acquired its fellow Y Combinator alumnus, Paystack, for a reported USD 200 M in 2020.

Stripe has several products in payment processing and corporate finance – from APIs to Atlas to business loans, etc. – that are identical to each of the new products that Flutterwave unveiled just days ago. But much of Stripe’s ‘extra’ products are only available in the U.S. and Europe at the moment – with none deployed to Africa as of yet despite the fact that it owns the Nigeria-based Paystack, though it’s thought to be a matter of time.

Given the potential for these products to yield a transformative impact on merchants throughout the continent and Stripe’s exploits in that space in other markets, it is quite plausible to think that the U.S. giant could soon steer Paystack along those same lines to take on Flutterwave across verticals in African markets. This would extend the ‘friendly’ competition between Paystack and Flutterwave to new frontiers, beyond payments and commerce as is the case presently.

By virtue of its capital injection and its stated and displayed appetite for acquisitions and partnerships, it is quite likely that Flutterwave has got its nose in front in this contest (which seems like good material for an episode of Wondery’s Business Wars). But one can almost certainly bet on Paystack rising to the fore in what is shaping up to be an interesting fintech battle.

Featured Image Courtesy: CNBC

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