Meet Olugbenga Agboola: Flutterwave’s Founder and CEO
If you live in Nigeria, you must have heard about Flutterwave. Maybe what you need to know is the man behind this successful fintech: Olugbenga Agboola.
On March 10th, 2022, Flutterwave was trending across all online channels. Twitter had over 10,000 tweets about Olugbenga Agboola and his 300+ employees in Lagos and San Francisco.
Flutterwave was founded in 2016 by Agboola and Aboyeji, and around 2011, the fintech had risen to world-class status. The company was thrown into the limelight by leading companies such as Stitch, Diool, Adamo, and Tyme Bank.
Accelerators and Angels
Just a few months after the launch of Flutterwave, YCombinato accepted it into their accelerator program. There were only two African startups accepted into this program. The most vital point about Flutterwave is that it helps flow money across the continent. Startups who got into the accelerator program benefit from YCombinator’s $125,000 seed capital and their vast network and expertise. That’s not all. Being validated by YC sends a positive signal to angel and institutional investors to invest in a startup.
For example, George Zachariah, a former Barclays investment banker, connected with Flutterwave through YCombinator and Stanford alum networks. George believed Flutterwave was the best channel for African entrepreneurs to make and receive payments.
Pre-seed investors typically benefit from angel investors because they can receive seed money within a few months of their launch. But when working as an individual, it may not be easy to get these angel investors, and that’s where accelerator programs come in.
Through such a program, Flutterwave benefitted from Big Tech companies that wanted to expand to Africa. For example, in 2017, Flutterwave was among the first African companies to join Google for Startups (formerly Google Launchpad Accelerator). Other companies that joined this program are Jumo, Twiga Foods, Field Insights (once Delivery Science), Gidi Mobile, and Paystack.
Representatives from these companies attended training in San Francisco for two weeks, receiving expert mentoring, Google product credits, and equity-free support.
After the San Francisco training, Flutterwave raised $10 million in its first financing round (Series A round), led by Green Visor Capital and Greycroft Capital. By July 2017, Flutterwave had transacted over $1.5 billion in four countries and had created a strong partnership with ten banks. The company’s Series B round raised $35 million and secured many strategic partnerships.
In 2018, MasterCard invested in Flutterwave. This partnership gave birth to GetBarter, an app that deals with financial management and money transfers. In 2019, Olugbenga Agboola attended a training program organized by Alibaba, dubbed the eFounders Fellowship. This training led to a partnership between Flutterwave and Ant Group, a Chinese financial company affiliated with Alibaba.
What Does the Future Hold For Flutterwave?
According to Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave will soon be listed on the NY Stock Exchange. If this happens, it will be an excellent achievement for an African fintech company and will allow many of the company’s investors to get returns on their capital. The IPO will be open to everyone, and when this comes to pass, many Nigerians can access FLTW on Trove, Bamboo, Rise, Chaka, and other stock-investment apps, what Olugbenga Agboola knows.