Africa fintech Flutterwave moves on from Kenya setback
Kenyan authorities have cleared Flutterwave of wrongdoing following an anti-money-laundering case in the East African nation. Nevertheless, industry confidence in the Africa-focused payments company remains mixed.
With a valuation at its early-2022 funding round more than three times the market capitalization of the biggest bank in Nigeria, Flutterwave’s remarkable growth has impressed and sometimes embarrassed incumbent financial institutions in its home country.
But its expansion has not been easy, including in Kenya.
Founder Olugbenga Agboola regards Kenya as one of Flutterwave’s core markets for the future, but he had to handle negative publicity around a local anti-money-laundering investigation launched by Kenyan authorities last year.
The firm was cleared of wrongdoing this month, and Agboola says the firm can now look to the future. But even so, the path is not clear.
The San Francisco-based but Africa-focused payments company – an equivalent of Stripe or Adyen – is rumoured to be among the venture capital-backed companies whose equity one can now buy at heavily discounted prices from traders specialising in unlisted stock.
It is not alone in this. Valuations across the financial technology sector have fallen precipitously since early 2022, when Flutterwave finished its last VC round.
Amsterdam-listed Adyen, for example, fell by more than a third between early 2022 and October this year.
Even if Flutterwave was valued at only a third of its early-2022 level – which was more than $3 billion – it would still be worth more than Access Bank, the biggest bank by assets in Nigeria, Flutterwave’s first and biggest market.