Flutterwave is an American fintech company that provides a payment infrastructure for global merchants and payment service providers across the continent.[1]

Flutterwave Inc
Company typePrivate
IndustryFinTech
Founded2016
Key people
Olugbenga Agboola (CEO), Iyinoluwa Aboyeji
Websiteflutterwave.com

History

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The company was founded in 2016 by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Olugbenga Agboola, and Adeleke Adekoya and is headquartered in San Francisco, California with operations in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, and seven other African countries.[2]

In 2021, Flutterwave raised a US$170 million Series C funding round.[3] At the time, this was the largest amount ever secured by an African tech startup and gave it a valuation of over US$1 billion,[4] making Flutterwave a unicorn.[2] Investors in Flutterwave include Y-Combinator, Visa Ventures, Mastercard, Avenir Growth Capital, and Tiger Global Management.[5] Flutterwave raised a US$250 million Series D funding round at over US$3 billion valuation in 2022 as well.[6]

In December 2021, Flutterwave launched Send,[7] an African-focused remittances service, and appointed Wizkid as its global ambassador to further push the company's brand among the Africans in the diaspora.[8][9]

In January 2022, Flutterwave partnered with AfroSport Network to broadcast the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations free-to-air from 9 January 2022 to 6 February 2022.[10]

In April 2024, Flutterwave announced plans for an Initial public offering.[11]

Digital Store

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At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Flutterwave built a digital store to help medium and small-scale businesses that were badly impacted by the global lockdown to display their products for market online. Over 20,000 businesses enrolled on the store for free through a campaign called "keeping the lights on".[12][13]

Switching License

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On September 1, 2022, Bloomberg reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria had granted Flutterwave the country's highest payment processing license, which allows it to process transactions between banks and cards without intermediaries. The switching processing license grants Flutterwave autonomy across the payments ecosystem value chain.[14] This includes processing funds transfers between banks and fintechs, as well as participating in agency banking and other payment services.[15][16][17]

Controversy

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Kenya licensing

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Kenyan central bank Governor Patrick Njoroge disclosed on July 28, 2022, after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, that Flutterwave and Chipper have not been granted a licence to operate in the country. The clarification of Patrick followed an initial ruling by a Kenyan High Court on July 6, 2022, which froze all assets and accounts of Flutterwave in the country.[18]

Flutterwave, in an official response, disclosed that it submitted applications for licensing to the central bank of Kenya in 2019 but has yet to be granted one.[19][20][21]

In February 2023, a Kenyan court released $51.9 million belonging to Flutterwave after the Asset Recovery Agency of Kenya withdrew its case against the startup.[22]

Money laundering

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In July 2022, a Kenyan High Court froze accounts held by Flutterwave holding over 6.2 billion Kenyan shilling based upon allegations that the funds were the proceeds of credit card fraud and money laundering after a request from Kenya's Assets Recovery Agency. [23][24][25] The company has denied accusations of financial misconduct.[25]

Kenya's Assets Recovery Agency withdrew the allegation of money laundering and fraud against Flutterwave. In a court order cited by Bloomberg, the agency absolved Flutterwave of any infringement.[26]

Harassment

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Flutterwave has been subject to multiple lawsuits and allegations for denying former employees stock rights as well as having a culture of bullying and harassment.[25] In response, the company stated it has taken action against individuals within the company responsible for harassment.[25]

Fraud

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On March 3, 2023, a Twitter user tweeted about a hack at Flutterwave. Two days later, on March 5, Flutterwave denied the report of a hack,[27] stating that customers did not lose any funds. However, several sources told TechCabal that they lost funds and their accounts were frozen. The court documents seen by TechCabal included a petition by Flutterwave's legal counsel to the police, dated February 20, 2023.[28] On February 8, 2024, TechCabal further published an exclusive report into how Flutterwave has been defrauded up to the tune of $24m through a court order secured to obtain return of such funds from over 6,000 Nigerian bank customers.[29]

See also

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References

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  1. ^ https://www.madenigeria.com/2024/06/Flutterwave-Nigerian-Company.html
  2. ^ a b Tom, Jackson (10 March 2021). "Nigerian payments startup Flutterwave achieves "unicorn" status after $170m funding round". Disrupt Africa. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  3. ^ "African payments company Flutterwave raises $170M, now valued at over $1B". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  4. ^ Princewill, Nimi (11 March 2021). "Nigerian startup Flutterwave secures $170 million in capital injections from investors, now valued at over $1 billion". CNN. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Dealroom: About Flutterwave". Dealroom. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Flutterwave secures $250m Series D with valuation at over $3bn". TechCabal. 2022-02-16. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  7. ^ "Flutterwave Send Website".
  8. ^ "Flutterwave Picks Wizkid as Global Brand Ambassador, Launches Send".
  9. ^ "Flutterwave Appoints Oluwabankole Falade as Chief Regulatory and Government Relations Officer – TechMoran".
  10. ^ "Flutterwave Sponsors AFCON 2021 Broadcast On Afrosport TV -". Complete Sports. 2022-01-06. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  11. ^ "Flutterwave Prepares for African Fintech IPO". Fintech Industry Examiner. 2024-04-24. Retrieved 2024-04-24.
  12. ^ "How Flutterwave is helping SMEs in Africa 'keep the lights on' during the pandemic". CNN. 2021-04-26. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  13. ^ "Flutterwave Powering retailers". Time. 2020-05-28. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  14. ^ "Flutterwave Obtains Key License in Nigeria Ahead of Planned IPO". Bloomberg. 2022-09-01. Retrieved 2022-09-01.
  15. ^ "CBN Grants Flutterwave Switching and Processing Licence – THISDAYLIVE". www.thisdaylive.com. Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  16. ^ Quadri, Sultan (2022-09-01). "Flutterwave secures payment license and plans IPO amidst regulatory hurdles". TechCabal. Retrieved 2022-10-09.
  17. ^ staff, CNBC com. "21. Flutterwave". CNBC. Retrieved 2022-12-09.
  18. ^ "Flutterwave, Chipper Cash not licensed to operate in Kenya — Central Bank". Premium Times. 2022-07-29. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  19. ^ "Flutterwave Says It's Awaiting Kenya License After Bank Snub". Bloomberg. 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  20. ^ "We submitted application for licence to operate in Kenya since 2019, Flutterwave reacts to CBK allegation". Vanguard Newspaper. 2022-07-30. Retrieved 2022-08-12.
  21. ^ "Nigeria's Flutterwave faces Kenya fraud allegations". Rest of World. 2022-07-25. Retrieved 2022-08-16.
  22. ^ "Kenyan court releases frozen Flutterwave funds". 2023-02-28. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  23. ^ Azeez, Wasilat (July 7, 2022). "Flutterwave denies money laundering allegation as Kenyan court freezes bank accounts". TheCable. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  24. ^ "Flutterwave's accounts frozen in Kenya over money laundering claims". Reuters. July 7, 2022. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  25. ^ a b c d Prinsloo, Loni (August 11, 2022). "Africa's $3 Billion Startup Battles Allegations as It Plans IPO". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 September 2022.
  26. ^ "Kenya Withdraws Financial Impropriety Case Against Flutterwave". Bloomberg.
  27. ^ TechPoint Africa
  28. ^ Oladunmade, Muktar (2023-03-10). "Hundreds of accounts frozen in relation to alleged Flutterwave hack". TechCabal. Retrieved 2023-03-10.
  29. ^ Oladunmade, Muktar (2024-02-08). "Flutterwave gets court order to recover $24 million lost to unauthorized POS transactions". TechCabal. Retrieved 2024-02-12.
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