Flutterwave becomes a unicorn, Bolt’s Nigeria food delivery, Apple’s first Nigerian appointment

March 10, 2021 · 4 min read
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Good day,

Oluwanifemi and Emmanuel here

Today we are discussing:

  • Flutterwave $170m raise at $1 billion valuation
  • Apple’s first Nigerian appointment
  • Bolt’s play for Nigeria’s food delivery market

Flutterwave becomes a unicorn

Flutterwave CEO, Olugbenga Agboola

The big news: Africa-focused fintech company, Flutterwave has raised $170m Series C.

The Series C round was led by New York-based private investment firm, Avenir Growth Capital, US hedge fund, and investment firm, Tiger Global.

Notable companies like WorldPay FIS and Greycroft Capital also participated in the round.

Impressive milestones: Apparently, Flutterwave reaped the rewards as COVID-19 moved several Africans towards digital payments.

Here’s a quick summary of its milestones since its 2016 launch:

  • Live in 20 African countries
  • Infrastructure reach to 33 countries
  • Processed 140 million transactions worth $9 billion
  • 290,000 business users
  • 100% revenue growth in one year.
  • 226% growth in compound annual growth rate (CAGR)

So what’s up? Recall that the company raised $20m Series A in 2018, and in 2020 the company announced a $35m Series B. The latest funding round brings its total disclosed funding to $225m.

The implication? The latest round values the company at over a billion dollars, and it joins the ranks of Jumia and Interswitch as Africa-focused startups that became unicorns. In fact, the company could well be the first truly African unicorn (founded by Africans, focused on the African market, and hit a billion-dollar valuation under ten years).

The company also eyes a possible dual listing on the US and Nigerian stock markets following the successful round.

Did you notice how I’m rarely using the word ‘startup’? My hands can’t seem to write those words for Flutterwave right now. I know I have no reason not to, but I’m too excited to write anything else. Check out the full breakdown.

Teju Ajani joins Apple as Nigeria country head

Teju Ajani, Apple Managing Director, Nigeria. Source, Instagram

The story: Former Google country manager, Android and content partnerships lead for Nigeria, Teju Ajani has been appointed as the Managing Director for Nigeria at Apple. Although we can’t ascertain exactly when this happened, her LinkedIn profile shows March 2021.

With over two decades of experience as a software engineer, Teju has also held various leadership positions in YouTube as Head of Content Partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa, and Oracle as Principal Product Manager.

It does matter: One would have imagined that such a move should have happened since 2020. If you recall, in February 2020, Apple announced an opening for the role of country lead in Nigeria. Who knows? Maybe the pandemic stalled their plan.

As of 2018, the tech giant that often claimed global representation had 1500 facilities, stores and office locations across the world but none was in Africa. Of course, anticipation became high once Apple’s intentions became known.

The bigger picture: Like it recently happened with Spotify, this is looking like another case of a global tech company having interest in Africa, especially Nigeria.

We understand that these companies probably see prospects in Africa being a large market. But for Apple, this seems like a lofty plan given Nigeria’s economic peculiarities. You know, Apple products are high-end and expensive. It doesn’t seem fit for the African market as much as Android is.

But it’s okay to try: Apple has tried penetration in another emerging market, India, and has so far recorded encouraging results. Can Apple replicate this in Nigeria?

This should help with your guess: The curious case of Apple’s interest in Nigeria

Will Apple be able to generate traction for its products? Will Teju’s appointment be the needed push to have an office or store in Nigeria, the first in Africa?

For more context: What Nigerians should expect as Teju Ajani joins Apple as country head

Bolt makes food delivery play in Nigeria

Estonian ride-hailing company, Bolt looks set to launch a food delivery service in Nigeria. The company is currently trying to hire a Restaurant Sales Manager who can help establish partnerships with local businesses.

This comes barely a day after the company secured $23 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to help fund Bolt’s expansion to underserved urban areas in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Nigeria’s food delivery space has attracted a lot of attention in recent months, particularly in the months following the lockdown. Jumia records that food orders grew 30% month-on-month.

Companies like Gokada pivoted to deliveries soon after the Lagos okada ban, and alongside other players, it would be hard to miss food delivery agents in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.

There’s a huge market: According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Lagos residents alone spent ₦830 billion ($2 billion) eating out in 2019; As if we needed any more reminder, the drop in movement during the pandemic made food delivery services much more important.

The competition: Uber has invested a lot in food delivery across the globe, but it is yet to launch its service in Nigeria. Bolt, on the other hand, keeps pushing to launch in markets Uber seems unwilling to enter.

With Bolt’s reach in Nigeria, it just might give Jumia a run for its money.

Go deeperWatch out Jumia Food, Bolt is launching a food delivery service in Nigeria

What else is happening?

  • African Cleantech startups are getting the funds. One in Nigeria and the other, DRC
  • Zimbabwean startup AfriBlocks selected for Techstars Seattle accelerator. Read
  • Multichoice supports calls for a household ‘TV tax’ in South Africa. Huh?
  • YouTube will start deducting US taxes from creators who don’t live in the US. Read
  • Keep in mind: Register for the Digital Currency Summit with this link.

Have a great day!
Oluwanifemi Kolawole & Emmanuel Paul for Techpoint Africa.

Featured image Kglavin via Wikipedia Commons

Techpoint Africa is a digital media company that amplifies the best innovations out of Africa through its mediadata, and events.

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