- Harambeans have brought companies like Yoco, Go1, Flutterwave and Andela into the business space
- Flutterwave has processed transactions worth more than US$16 million in over 50 million transactions across dozens of countries in Africa
- Andela was valued at US$1.5 billion after a US$200 million seed funding series E round led by Softbank’s vision fund
Over the last decade, young African entrepreneurs have defied the odds to start and scale businesses that are solving some of the biggest problems in the continent.
These African businesses are attracting distributed investors from all over the globe.
One of the groups transforming the innovative African ecosystem is the Harambeans, who have brought companies like Yoco, Go1, Flutterwave and Andela into the business space. The Harambeans have gone out to put Africa back on the map and convince global investors that Africa is an excellent place to invest their capital, grow their businesses and find talent.
Two Harambean innovators who have highlighted the potential in the African market are Iyin Aboyeji, H’10 and Melvyn Lubega, H’16.
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Iyin Aboyeji has broken the trend of creating businesses with the same scale as their Western contemporaries with Flutterwave and Andela’s two companies.
Flutterwave business model
Flutterwave Incorporation is a business building payments technology and infrastructure to connect Africa to the global economy that has become the most valuable startup in the continent. Iyin Aboyeji and his team have spearheaded the company to become one of the fastest-growing payment technology businesses with a valuation of over US$3 billion in less than a year to 2022 that has been raised mainly through roundtable funding.
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In the latest fundraising led by B Capital Group, Flutterwave raised US$250 million, with participation from Alta Park Capital LP, Whale Rock Capital and Lux Capital.
Flutterwave said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. “The investment has enabled the company to become the highest valued African startup,” a Flutterwave email read.
Flutterwave has processed transactions worth more than US$16 million in over 50 million transactions across dozens of countries in Africa, facilitating cross-border transactions in multiple currencies for companies, including Uber Technologies Inc., Booking.com and Alibaba’s Alipay. It has evolved beyond payments products to an online marketplace and a lending channel to small and medium businesses.
With operations from the Nigerian commercial hub of Lagos to Nairobi, Kenya, the San Francisco-based company will continue to grow in East Africa. According to Flutterwave’s software engineer, the company also plans to expand its Francophone African nations such as Senegal and Cameroon.
Andela engineering talent network
Iyin Aboyeji also co-founded Andela, Africa’s most prominent engineering talent network with over 1,000 software engineers in over 80 countries, with investments from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Google Ventures.
Through Andela, thousands of engineers have been placed with leading technology companies, including Github, Cloudflare and ViacomCBS.
“In the future, global hiring will be the default position. It will be faster, easier, and more effective to hire globally through Andela than for companies to hire locally today. As a result, companies will have access to better talent, and talent will have access to more compelling roles – and race, gender, and nationality will become less deterministic of opportunity,” said Andela’s CEO and co-founder, Jeremy Johnson.
Andela was valued at US$1.5 billion after a US$200 million seed funding series E round led by Softbank’s vision fund.
Aboyeji is also a general partner at Future Africa, where they partner with innovators turning the continent’s most complex challenges into global business opportunities to transform the innovative African ecosystem.
“Africa is still growing as a continent and to be a unicorn now comes with the responsibility to take the future of payments to Africa, connect Africa to the world, and the world to Africa,” says the African creative, Aboyeji.
Corporate edtech, Go1
Go1, co-founded by Harambean Melvyn Lubega, is a corporate edtech that provides curated online learning materials and tools to businesses by tapping content from multiple leading global publishers and silos into a central digital library. Go1 has made corporate training simple for employees and employers.
The startup closed a round of US$200 million in July 2021, a Series D that the Australian company’s CEO and co-founder Andrew Barnes confirmed values the startup at over US$1 billion.
The above innovations have shown the potential held by African creatives, increasing the relevance of the continent on the global market. “Our unicorns give us more reasons to be bolder and hopeful for Africa’s future as investors and companies change their focus to include the continent,” said Founder and Chairman of Harambeans, Okendo Lewis-Gayle.
“We are extremely proud of what these businesses have achieved and believe this is just the tip of the iceberg – there is much more to come!”
Read: US$200M fund set up to back growth-stage tech startups in Africa