Nigeria’s 5 unicorns have raised over $2.56 billion since launch

Nigeria’s 5 unicorns have raised over $2.56 billion since launch

In the last couple of years, Africa has seen a massive rise in the number of startups on the continent, especially tech startups. In the wake of the pandemic, as most brick and mortar stores shuttered their doors, and customers turned online, these startups thrived, delivering services, ranging from Banking to insurance, shopping, healthcare, food delivery, and much more.

Beyond disrupting the traditional ways of creating value and providing services to businesses, one other thing most of these startups have in common is raising money.

While many startups bootstrap, and seek small loans from friends and families in the early days, to scale their services to more customers and offer even better products, these startups have to look outside to raise money from venture firms and investors.

2021 was a good funding year for much of these startups in Africa, and more notably for Nigeria. While the continent raised over $4 billion dollars in 2021, Nigerian startups alone accounted for over $1.65 billion. This was up more than 142% from the $517 million received by startups in the country in the previous year.

Since 2019, startups in Nigeria have raised about $3.6bn, a figure only a little less than the $3.8bn raised by startups in northern and eastern Africa combined within the same time. Nigeria also represents the vast majority of the funding raised in Western Africa, 86 per cent since 2019, that’s 6 out of every 7 dollars raised.

As investor confidence continues to grow in the technology sector, and mobile and internet penetration goes deeper among the continent’s youthful, tech-savvy population, many of these startups are crossing the one billion dollar mark to become unicorns; that once mythical creature of the startup world.

In 2015, Africa didn’t have a single unicorn, but seven years later, the continent can boast of 7 startups worth over $1 billion dollars. Of these seven, 5 are Nigerian — Jumia, Flutterwave , OPay, Andela, and Interswitch.

According to Crunchbase data, these 5 Nigerian unicorns, have since their launch, raised a total of $2.56 billion.

Below we run down a list of Nigerian unicorns, and how much funding they’ve raised.


Leading the pack is African E-commerce giant Jumia, which has since its founding raised $1.2 billion over 8 funding rounds. Its latest funding was a Post-IPO Secondary round raised in March 2021, and valued at $341.2M. In 2016, Jumia became Africa’s first unicorn.

In 2019, Jumia became the first major African-focused tech company to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Shares of the company openedf at $14.50, and it went on to raise $196 million through its initial public offering (IPO).


Founded by Norwegian browser company Opera as an African-focused fintech company, the Nigerian-based Opay allows customers to do more with their money through providing smart financial services. Its mobile payment service and consumer platform let users send and receive money, pay bills and carry out other online transactions.

Since its launch in 2018, OPay has raised a total of $570M in 3 funding rounds. Its latest funding was a $400M Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 in August last year, that valued the company at $2 billion.


In February 2022, Nigerian Fintech Flutterwave became the highest-valued African startup, after raising $250 million in a Series D round that tripled its valuation to over $3 billion.

Since beginning operations in 2016, Flutterwave has raised a total of $474.5M in funding over 11 rounds, funded by 49 investors. The company’s most recent investors include Avenir Growth Capital and B Capital Group.


Founded in 2014 by four professionals working in the online education and recruitment business; Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Ian Carnevale, Jeremy Johnson and Christiana Sass, Andela is a global talent network connecting companies with engineering talent in emerging markets. The company currently has operations across 5 continents.

Andela has raised a total of $381 million funding across 9 funding rounds. Its latest funding was a SoftBank-led $200M Series E round raised in September 2021 that brought the company’s valuation to $1.5 billion. Its most recent investors include Generation Investment Management and Spark Capital.


Interswitch became Africa’s second unicorn in 2019, after American Financial giant VISA acquired a 20% stake in the digital payments and commerce company, valued at $200 million. To date, Interswitch has raised a total of $320.5M in funding over 4 rounds. Its latest funding was $110 million raised in May 2022 from a Private Equity round.

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