African fintech unicorn, Flutterwave resumes IPO talks

Flutterwave, the leading African fintech startup wants to continue with its initial public offering (IPO) plans that were stalled last year due to a myriad of scandals including insider trading, sexual allegations and regulatory challenges.

“There’s some kind of customers we’ll attract when we are public,” Flutterwave co-founder and CEO, Olugbenga Agboola told Bloomberg. “The large global clients who need you have the same level of compliance and level of global view that they have.”

The company made significant appointments to its C-suite last year. Marshall Lux, former chief Risk Officer at JPMorgan Chase joined Flutterwave as a senior advisor as part of the company's efforts “to meet global risk management and compliance standards for merchants and partners as the business scales”.

Since its launch in 2016, Flutterwave has raised over $450 million from various VC firms including Tiger Global, Visa, and B Salesforce Ventures. At its last raise, a $250 million Series D in February 2022, the company was valued at $3 billion—Flutterwave is now operational in about 30 African countries.

“The timing of an IPO is a function of a number of factors, including but not limited to, market conditions,” this was the position of the company in February 2023. Agboola reiterates this in the interview with Bloomberg: “The markets aren’t great right now,” he said. “As Africa’s largest fintech and the only one still having breadth across the continent, it offers public market investors probably the best potential to invest in the African continent,” according to Lexi Novitske, a general partner with Norrsken22.

Globally, IPO deal proceeds plummeted 94% in 2022 — from $155.8 billion to $8.6 billion — according to Ernst & Young’s IPO report published in mid-December

Contrary to Bloomberg reporting, Flutterwave CEO told Semafor Africa in June that the company is not close to going public yet. “Obviously we have plans to do that but currently our goal is deepening market penetration, getting our customers where they want to be across the continent,” he said to the American news outlet.

“The goal is to make merchants across Africa, consumers across Africa use us more and know that we are the most reliable platform to use. Africa is huge, the potential is huge,” Agboola recently said in an interview.

If the IPO plans do not go through this time, Flutterwave will likely raise additional funding while continuing its acquisition plans. “We believe public market investors will value the company’s growth, market-leading position, and marquee customer base at a premium to our private funding valuations,” a Flutterwave spokesperson told TechCabal earlier this year.