When I was working as a reporter Chinabased, I came across an interesting article about a 170m tiger 1b in Africa. It was a big deal at the time, and I was intrigued to learn more. So, here’s what I discovered.
Union54 is a Zambian fintech company that helps African software companies manage their debit cards without the need for a third-party processor. The company also offers a virtual debit card. It claims to have processed millions of dollars in transactions.
It’s the first Zambian startup to receive backing from Y Combinator. This round is led by Tiger Global, which previously invested in other African startups, including Cheki, Jobberman, and Takealot.
Union54 claims to have over half a million virtual debit cards. It’s also a member of the Mastercard Principle.
However, the company experienced some operational issues in May. These were attributed to a new update that was supposed to enable customers to set up virtual dollar cards.
Float is one of many fintech startups that are doing a great job in Africa. These startups are helping African SMBs access the financing they need to grow.
Tiger Global’s latest venture capital fund is called Private Investment Partners and it is aimed at doubling down on their recent investments in fintech and adjacent industries. The fund has raised $11 billion.
Float, which is based out of Ghana, is using the new funding to improve their cash management platform. It offers a range of services including flexible credit lines, invoice factoring and instant payouts. This is in addition to their payment and budgeting platform. They have also introduced a plethora of software tools to help business owners automate their processes, such as invoice collection, payroll and account management.
Flutterwave, an African fintech startup, raised $170 million in a Series C round. The company is now valued at over $1 billion, making it one of the most expensive startups in Africa.
Last year, fintech attracted an estimated 25% to 31% of all VC funding, making it one of the most popular investment opportunities for international investors. But some global investors have warned against overpaying for startups, raising concerns about startup valuations and exits. Nonetheless, the Flutterwave raise represents a major milestone for the African startup scene.
Although the $170 million raise was the biggest of the year for African fintech startups, it is not the first. Jumia, a publicly traded online commerce company in Africa, secured $200 million in a Series D round in February, while Fawry, a payments startup in Egypt, raised $50 million in a Series C in September.
FairMoney is an app that provides instant loans to underserved consumers in emerging markets. The company is licensed as an online lender in Nigeria and offers a variety of loan options from small to large, ranging from N1,500 to N500,000. They also offer a variety of repayment options, including bank transfers and SMS transfers. In addition, the company has also built a mobile banking platform that enables users to buy and sell utility bills, buy and sell airtime and even buy and sell data.
FairMoney is not the only fintech startup offering credit-based lending in Nigeria. Other notable examples include m.Money, which offers small business loans in the retail sector. Another noteworthy company is Future Africa, a Lagos-based venture capital firm.
Tiger Global is one of the biggest investors in emerging markets, and a major player in fintech in Africa. They’ve made a number of mega-rounds in fintech startups in the past. Their earliest portfolio investments in Africa were in consumer internet companies. In the aughts, they wrote checks on 30 deals in the region. The firm has since expanded its focus to include growth stage investments in the region.
In the last decade, Tiger has become a key investor in Africa. Their portfolio includes startups like Flutterwave, which offers digital payments solutions to African businesses. It’s the only fintech in Nigeria to reach a $1 billion valuation.