Africa’s fintech sector is booming, fueled by soaring venture capital (VC) funding activity, rising adoption of digital financial services among both consumers and businesses, and increasing efforts from governments to improve financial inclusion.
Between 2020 and 2021, the number of technology startups in the continent tripled to around 5,200 companies, with just under half of these being fintech companies. Last year, these ventures raised a record of US$2 billion, according to Crunchbase data, up 770% from 2020’s US$230 million.
To get a sense of the continent’s up-and-coming fintech leaders, we’ve compiled a list of the top eight most well-funded fintech companies in Africa. For this list, we’ve used data from CB Insights, Dealroom and these companies’ own public releases. We’ve considered fintech companies based in Africa, those with African origins, as well as companies that primarily target the African continent.
OPay – US$570 million
Founded in 2018 by Norwegian browser company Opera, OPay is a Nigerian mobile payments startup offering bespoke services including offline payments, online payments, digital wallet service through artificial intelligence (AI), savings products, and other fintech products.
OPay claims over 15 million registered wallet users, 600,000 merchants nationwide and more than US$6 billion in monthly transaction value. It says it is one of the fastest growing mobile payment company in Africa and Middle East with a decent market share in markets such as Nigeria, Egypt, and Pakistan, among others.
OPay has raised US$570 million in disclosed funding and is valued at US$2 billion, according to CB Insights. The startup closed its latest round in August 2021, securing US$400 million.
Parent company Opera reported that OPay’s monthly transactions grew 4.5x to over US$2 billion in December 2020. The company also claims to process about 80% of bank transfers among mobile money operators in Nigeria and 20% of the country’s non-merchant point of sales (POS) transactions.
Flutterwave – US$474.7 million
Launched in 2016 and headquartered in the US, Flutterwave is a global payments technology company servicing businesses and payment services providers looking to expand their operations in Africa.
The company provides a platform that enables cross-border transactions via one API, and processes payments in 150 currencies, supporting multiple payment methods including local and international cards, mobile wallets and bank transfers.
Flutterwave says it has processed over 200 million transactions worth over US$16 billion to data, and claims more than 900,000 business customers, including Uber, Flywire and Booking.com. It says it has an infrastructure reach in over 34 African countries, including Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa.
Interswitch – US$321 million
Headquartered in Nigeria, Interswitch is an Africa-focused integrated payments and digital commerce platform company.
The startup was founded in 2002 as a transaction switching and processing company with a national focus before progressively evolving to incorporate consumer financial services such as Quickteller, a retail payments ecosystem linking merchants and billers with consumers, as well as Verve, a homegrown, EMV-certified payments card scheme.
Today, Interswitch powers much of the rails for Nigeria’s online banking system and is one of the biggest debit card schemes in the continent, having issued over 35 million active cards.
Chipper Cash – US$302 million
Founded in 2018, Chipper Cash is a VC-backed fintech company headquartered in the US. The company builds software to enable free and instant peer-to-peer cross-border payments in Africa, Europe and the US, as well as solutions for businesses and merchants to process online and in-store payments. It also provides services across personal investments, including stock trading.
Chipper Cash serves African markets including Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa and Kenya, as well as the UK. It launched in the US in September 2021, targeting the African diaspora with instant and fee-free cross-border payment capabilities.
Chipper Cash claims over four million customers and says it has issued more than 300,000 Visa cards, processing over US$1.5 billion worth of transactions every quarter.
Wave – US$290 million
Founded in 2017, Wave is a mobile money startup serving the Senegalese and Côte d’Ivoire markets. The company runs an agent network that uses cash on hand to service customers who can make free deposits, withdrawals and bill payments, and get charged only a 1% fee whenever they send money.
Wave claims to serve more than 10 million users monthly across its operating markets, and says it is the largest mobile money provider in Senegal. In April, it was granted a E-Money License from the Central Bank of the West African States, permitting it to directly offer its current suite of financial products to customers, instead of having to rely on partnered banks.
Wave has raised more than US$290 million in equity and debt capital funding to date, and is valued at US$1.7 billion, according to CB Insights.
MFS Africa – US$225 million
Founded in 2010, MFS Africa is a Pan-African fintech company, operating one of the largest digital payment hubs in the continent.
The company enables domestic and cross-border disbursements and collections across its network of networks. It allows its partners, which includes enterprises, mobile money operators, money transfer operators, banks, non-bank financial institutions, and online and offline merchants, to connect to each other and to connect to more than 400 million mobile money wallets in over 35 African countries.
MFS Africa has raised US$225 million in funding, including debt. Its latest round was a US$200 million Series C closed in June 2022. The company said it would use the proceeds to further accelerate its expansion plans across Africa, its integration into the global digital payment ecosystem, its expansion into Asia, and its ambitious growth plans for Baxi, a Nigerian “super-agent network” company it acquired in 2021.
Jumo – US$200 million
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in South Africa, Jumo provides a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, enabling partners including banks, fintech companies and e-commerce players, to offer loans, savings and other financial products to their customers.
The platform has two distinct capabilities, which work together to provide a full digital banking service: Core, the technology which provides end-to-end, next generation banking infrastructure, and Unify, a learning machine which analyzes data to reduce the cost and risk of lending.
Jumo, which is active in seven markets, namely Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire and Pakistan, says it has served more than 20 million customers and disbursed over 130 million individual loans worth a total of US$4 billion.
Jumo has raised US$200 million in funding so far, its latest round being a US$120 million fundraise announced in November 2021. It said at the time that it would use the proceeds to scale its platform’s capacity, evolve its services and increase the number of financial products on offer to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), provide longer term lending options for merchants and bigger businesses, and expand to new markets such as Nigeria and Cameroon.
MNT-Halan – US$140 million
Founded in 2018 in Egypt, MNT-Halan started out as a ride-sharing and delivery app before becoming a super app and the country’s leading fintech ecosystem.
Today, MNT-Halan provides digital banking services to unbanked and underbanked customers. Its digital ecosystem includes small business and consumer lending, payments, bill payments, e-commerce, buy now, payer later (BNPL), and delivery services.
The company claims one million monthly active users and over 4 million customers, of which 3.1 million financial clients and 1.8 million borrowers. It says it has disbursed US$2 billion in total loans since its launch, and processes more than US$125 million in transactions each month.
MNT-Halan has raised US$140 million in funding, according to Dealroom. Its latest round was a US$120 million fundraise it secured last year to improve its technology and product while scaling to customers within and outside Egypt. This year, MNT-Halan acquired business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform Talabeyah to add a fast-moving consumer goods offering to its merchant network.
Featured image credit: Edited from Unsplash