E-commerce platform Flutterwave Store launched for SMEs to sell products
San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has launched Flutterwave Store, a portal for African merchants to create digital shops to sell online.
May 01, 2020: San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has launched Flutterwave Store, a portal for African merchants to create digital shops to sell online.
According to TechCrunch, the Flutterwave Store is the startup’s response to the current pandemic which has brought restrictive measures to SMEs and traders operating in Africa’s largest economies.
The product is less Amazon and more eBay - with no inventory or warehouse requirements. Flutterwave insists the move does not represent any shift away from its core payments business.
After creating a profile, users can showcase inventory and link up to a payment option. For pickup and delivery, Flutterwave Store operates through existing third-party logistics providers, such as Sendy in Kenya and Sendbox in Nigeria.
The service will start in 15 African countries which include Africa’s top economies and population countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. The only fees Flutterwave will charge (for now) are on payments. Otherwise, it’s free for SMEs to create an online storefront and for buyers and sellers to transact goods.
While the initiative is born out of the spread of coronavirus cases in Africa, it will continue beyond the pandemic. And Flutterwave’s CEO Olugbenga Agboola is adamant Flutterwave Store is not a pivot for the fintech company, which is an alum of Silicon Valley accelerator Y-Combinator.
Flutterwave has a very different business than the continent’s big e-commerce players and plans to stick with it, according to Agboola.
When it comes to reaching, VC, and partnerships, the startup is one of the more connected and visible operating in Africa’s tech ecosystem. The Nigerian-founded venture’s main business is providing B2B payments services for companies operating in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.
Launched in 2016, Flutterwave allows clients to tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customise payment applications. Existing customers include Uber and Booking.com.
In 2019, Flutterwave processed 107 million transactions worth $5.4 billion, according to company data. Over the last 12 months, the startup has been on a tear of investment, product, and partnership activity.
In July 2019, Flutterwave joined forces with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s Alipay to offer digital payments between Africa and China. The Alipay collaboration followed one between Flutterwave and Visa to launch a consumer payment product for Africa, called GetBarter.
In January of this year, the startup raised a $35 million Series B round and announced a partnership with Worldpay FIS for payments in Africa.