Business Expert, entrepreneur


Flutterwave is one of Africa’s best innovations. It was formed in 2016 by Olugbenga Agboola and his partner Iyinoluwa Aboyeji. The company has its headquarters in Lagos and San Francisco, with over 300 employees. Nigerians are especially proud of this innovation and once made it trend on Twitter with more than 10,000 tweets.

Olugbenga Agboola formerly worked as a PayPal engineer and as a Google product manager. His deep understanding of the technology industry significantly shaped him to form Flutterwave. The company is recognized as the fastest-growing African startup. Other African-owned fintech companies were formed in 2021, including Adumo, Tyme Bank, Stitch and Diool. An analysis conducted by TechCabal showed that in 2021 these African-owned startups raised $566 million, 60 percent being from fintech.

Flutterwave is a perfect example of the importance of investors for the future of startups. The immense growth depicted is all thanks to the angel investors who came on board and believed in the sketchy idea the time. In 2016 it was just Olugbenga Agboola and Aboyeji’s idea, but after investors backed the idea with funds, the business picked. The funds came from different sources like accelerator programs, angel investors, private equity firms and venture capital. International communities and multinational corporations were also highly supportive of the fintech startup. The investors only provided funds, but the design of Flutterwave products was Agboola and Aboyeji’s ideas.

Flutterwave has grown its wings and now serves 20 countries and 290,000 merchants. After its formation in August 2016, it got acceptance to the YCombinator accelerator program. They only accepted two African startups at the time. Aaron Harris, a partner at YCombinator, was impressed by how Flutterwave changed money transfer on the continent. The YC program offers a $125,000 investment and a wide range of expertise and networks.

An acceptance to YCombinator validates startups, therefore, attracting angel investors. Flutterwave earned Zachariah George through the program. George formerly worked at Barclays as an investment banker. He learnt about Flutterwave from the YC alumni network and Stanford. George has invested in over 70 first-stage African startups and leads the Startup Bootcamp African division. Zachariah loved Flutterwave mostly because it eased the process of making and receiving payments for African merchants.

Olugbenga Agboola is pleased by international investors’ significant efforts for Flutterwave. Their investment creates confidence for insurance companies and banks to continue banking and providing loans for the company. Accelerator programs can build startup companies from the ground up, unlike some angel investors that don’t have the capability of building operational and product development for a startup company.

Flutterwave has had good luck since its formation, earning great support from big technology companies. In May 2017, it was among the first startups in Africa to get accepted to Google Launchpad Accelerator, currently called Google for Startups. The training went on for two weeks, but the benefits were numerous.

Shortly after the training, in July 2017, Flutterwave got $10 million in a Series A round led by Green Visor capital, Greycroft Capital, and two Silicon-Valley capital firms. The Series B round raised $35 million and strategic partnerships.