Olugbenga Agboola: The Making of the Co-founder of Flutterwave
Olugbenga Agboola is the co-founder of Flutterwave and the CTO of the company. Olugbenga holds a Master of Business Administration, Physics, and Mathematics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts. In 2016, Olugbenga successfully raised more than $6 million to fund his startup.
In 2016, Olugbenga co-founded Flutterwave, a payment processing service that allows businesses to make transactions across Africa. The company is currently building the last infrastructure for its platform. This cross-border payment network will allow users to send money across Africa instantly and at a low cost. The company raised more than $6 million in Series A funding led by Cisco Investments, with participation from Google Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and others.
The fintech scene in Africa has been exploding in recent years, with the continent’s burgeoning population of 2 billion people making the continent a perfect testing ground for the technology. According to a report by Startup Compass, over a million jobs are being created in Africa every month, as 575 fintech startups were made this year alone. The figures further show that the number of artificial intelligence companies operating in Africa is set to grow from $6.2 billion currently to $13.5 billion by 2025.
Olugbenga Agboola, co-founder and CTO of Flutterwave, said the company had taken a different approach to raising funding than other startups. “Flutterwave has always been closely aligned with communities we wanted to work with. In that sense, it was a lot more natural for us to attract early-stage funding from countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa,” he said.
Flutterwave grew its team and expanded operations into Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa through the funding. In Ghana, Flutterwave partnered with Vodafone to roll out mobile money services, including Flutterwave’s payment processing. In Nigeria, the startup has partnered with telecoms giant MTN and has been working with them on a card payment integration. Flutterwave is partnering with First National Bank in South Africa to build a pan-African financial services platform. The startup has received funding from angel investors, accelerator programs, venture capital, and private equity firms.
Olugbenga’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Zachary “Zach” George, was introduced to the startup through Stanford and YC’s alumni networks in the US. George was then tasked with helping Flutterwave get off the ground across Africa. “In the past, I had seen companies that could have been built based on our software platform, but they were not. We had to create it from scratch to make sure that it was an African solution for African problems,” he said.
Flutterwave was introduced to its first round of investors in July 2017. The $10 million funding round was led by Cisco Investments and Silicon Valley Bank, with participation from Google Ventures, Digital Currency Group, and other angel investment firms. In September, Flutterwave raised a further $1 million from AlphaCode Ventures, based in Dubai. Agboola said the funding was used to develop more infrastructure around their business model, which would enable increased sales.
Olugbenga Agboola has become an influencer in Nigeria’s banking and finance space. He has a successful track record of over 20 unique patents/patent filings, and his lab is dedicated to research and development projects that could revolutionize the payments industry. Olugbenga has been featured in several publications and is considered a highly respected personality in Nigeria’s tech space.