The first quarter of 2021 has proven, to some extent, that fintech startups are Nigeria’s new oil. Fintech platforms accounted for about $202.15 million (78.94%) of $256.34 million funds raised by a total of 16 Nigerian startups during the months of January to March (only publicly disclosed deals were computed in this data).
Nigeria’s fintech landscape consists of 210-250 fintech companies. According to Frost and Sullivan, Nigeria’s fintech revenue is expected to reach US$543.3 million in 2022 from US$153.1 million in 2017. Tech entrepreneurs are emerging to seize the space without building factories to make huge money and it is apparent that the industry is in a period of a long list of record investments.
The fintech industry is known for being an enabling institution that drives job opportunities and also prefers solutions in investing, saving money, and making payments digitally.
At a time like this, that we have agreed that technology is disrupting the global financial services industry, Nigeria has not been left out of the change. Nigeria’s financial system has been responsive to the new transformations in the financial system and they have made several recorded accomplishments for the first Q1 of 2021; Here are the six fintech platforms that have raised at least $1m in 2021 (only publicly disclosed deals were computed in this data).
Flutterwave is a payment startup founded by Olugbenga Agboola and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji. This platform is a very vast platform that completes payment from more than 68 Nigerian accounts and 15 E bills transactions. In March, the platform becomes Africa’s fourth $1bn unicorn after it announced that it has closed $170 million, valuing the company over $1 billion.
Cowrywise helps Nigerians save and invest money online. In January 2021, Cowrywise raises $3 million in pre-series, funding led by Quona Capital with participation from Sahil Lavinga and Tsadix Foundation. Cowrywise secure savings and investments platforms that democratize access to premium digital financial services by making these services accessible to the majority, as long as you are an Android and IOS user.
In March Bankly, a Nigerian fintech startup digitizing cash for the unbanked, announced that it has closed a $2 million seed round. Founded by Tomilola Adejana and Fredrick Adams in 2018, Bankly is digitizing the informal thrift collections system known with different names such as esusu or ajo in Nigeria. It works offline, good security risks, and very limited data consumption.
Afriex app is the cheapest and easiest way to send money abroad with low exchange rates, zero fees, and a free multi-cryptocurrency account, founded by Tope Alabi and John Obirije in 2019. The apps currently send money to Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and the USA. Likewise, the app is available for iPhone & Android users. Afri raised $1.2M seed to scale its payment and remittances platform across Africa. With the new investments, the Lagos and San Francisco-based startup is looking to scale up by growing the team and expanding to other markets.
Kuda Bank owned by Babs Ogundeyi is Nigeria’s first fully digital banking licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to make banking more accessible. In February 2021, Kuda secured an investment of $2.2 billion and now raised a total of $36.6m in two years to secure the future of this digital platform. Kuda declared that they now have over 650,000 customers which have been a big growth for the entire team.
ThankUcash is a multi-merchant loyalty and cashback platform that connects customers with customers in a bid to help the business grow and prosper. The parent company of ThankUcash raised seven-digit pre-series A funding to expand operations. This platform was founded in 2018 by Simeon Ononobi and Madonna Ononobi.