It is no longer news that Nigerian fintech firm, Flutterwave is now valued at $3billion and is Africa’s richest startup. The pandemic did not slow down its growth. Nor has it slowed down the growth of many other tech companies in the country. The new normal brought on by COVID-19 probably even accelerated it. Let’s take a look at some of the changes that have occurred in the Nigerian tech ecosystem.
How tech companies fared since the pandemic
Not only has Flutterwave grown in valuation, it has inevitably grown in the number of processed transactions. It has processed more than 100 million transactions worth over $2.6billion. It has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in funding over the years. Restrictions in movement at the start of 2020 forced a lot of people to resort to digital means of carrying out transactions. Led by Olugbenga Agboola, this fintech firm enables both small and big businesses to sell online, send and receive international payments, create virtual ATM cards, and so on. What about the education sector?
ULesson, founded by Sim Shagaya, experienced a growth surge courtesy of the pandemic. As the lockdowns started and schools closed their doors, children could no longer learn in the classroom. This was the golden moment for ULesson to thrive - and it did. They had already secured $3.1million in funding and had what it took to tackle the learning problem. A lot of secondary school students took advantage of the opportunity to learn from the safety of their homes. All they needed to do was pay a monthly fee to gain access. The company has an app where pre-recorded lessons and questions are available. Its 2 million downloads and counting are a sign of the app’s popularity among students. Time to move to the next tech company.
Since we’re on the subject of moving, Autocheck is a good firm to talk about. Owned by Etop Ikpe, the company enables users to buy cars, sell cars, and get car loans on its platform. It was born of the union of two firms - Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana. Since its inception in September 2020, Autocheck has raised $3.4 million in pre-seed funding. Not bad for a business that started in the middle of the pandemic. The funds will help to further develop the platform and expand its operations. Hopefully, the expansion will extend to other African countries at least. That brings us to the transportation sector.
How the transportation sector was affected
At the beginning of the lockdowns, travel was difficult. Rules and restrictions made it tough to move from one city to another. Things have since picked up in the sector. Some transportation tech companies had something to do with it. One of them is Transita.
The Lagos to Aba, plus other routes were some of the busiest during that period. All the same, the tech company made it possible for users to enjoy stress-free travel. Imagine not needing to wait for hours in a queue to buy an interstate bus ticket. Think of what it would be like to never have to wonder if there is a cheaper or better bus out there. Transita made all this happen. All travellers have to do is download the app on Google PlayStore or App Store and start using it. They get to see all the prices and bus routes of major bus companies, then choose the one they prefer. The fact that you can buy a ticket on the app using your smartphone means you don’t need to wake up early in the morning to join a long queue.
What the future holds
The future looks bright for Nigerian tech companies. Local and international funding is streaming in. Real world problems are being solved for the average person. These are all good signs and things can only get better.