Following a tumultuous year marked by several media controversies, Africa's largest startup by market value, Flutterwave appears to be resuming its preparations for an initial public offering (IPO), according to a Bloomberg report, citing its CEO.
But despite facing fraud allegations, alleged security breaches, and a seemingly unfavourable IPO landscape in the U.S., where it is registered and intends to go public, Flutterwave plans to achieve further success on the African continent through its upcoming IPO.
For now, details of the $3 billion fintech company's IPO plans are still sketchy, even though it is said to have been planning to go public for over a year now, likely slowed down by the harassment and fraud allegations.
Since its establishment in 2016, Flutterwave has undergone a remarkable expansion, establishing its infrastructure in over 34 African countries.
During this journey, it has attracted substantial investments from prominent venture capital firms like Tiger Global Management LLC, B Capital Group, and Y Combinator with a portfolio sum of more than $500 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, pushing the company's valuation to an impressive $3 billion.
But, as Flutterwave sets its sights on an initial public offering (IPO), its ambitions come with their fair share of hurdles. First, there's the sticky issue of the U.S. IPO market. According to Statista, there was a significant downturn in IPO activity this past year, with just 181 recorded in 2022 – a staggering 82.5% drop from the 1,035 IPOs in 2021, a historic high.
Adding to the complexity, Flutterwave, which already provides services to American giants like Uber and Netflix, must now navigate the court of American public opinion. This includes the perspectives of institutional and retail investors, who will scrutinize the company's governance and corporate culture.
Notably, Flutterwave has been embroiled in a slew of allegations since April 2022, including fund mismanagement – leading to instances of account suspension in Kenya, sexual harassment, administrative blunders, and security breaches. Despite this, the company is working to distance itself from the bad press and make strides in its expansion plans.
So far, Flutterwave has settled some of its fraud and regulatory cases and embarked on ventures into new markets. Recent achievements include securing licenses in Rwanda to enable cross-border money transfers and obtaining Payment Services Provider and Payments Facilitator licenses in Egypt.
It also hired reputable names like Oneal Bhamban, a former VP at American Express, as its new Chief Financial Officer and Gurbhej Dhillon, a former MD at Goldman Sachs, as its new Chief Technology Officer, as part of the company's concerted efforts to drive its IPO aspirations.
In addition to these strategic moves, Flutterwave recently forged strategic partnerships to propel its growth such as the collaborations with Token.io, Audiomack, and Microsoft Azure which underscore the company's unwavering dedication to its expansion endeavours.