Simplified Tech News Reporting

Wave Joins The Unicorn Club After Series A Round

Stripe, others invest $200M in African fintech Wave at $1.7B valuation

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Senegal-based fintech Wave, announced that it has closed a US$ 200million series A funding, making it the first Francophone African startup to reach the  unicorn status with valuation of $1.7 billion.

Wave joins OPay and Flutterwave as the newly minted unicorns in Africa this year making it the third unicorn in Africa — that is, startups valued above $1 billion — and the fourth African unicorn after Interswitch. Other billion-dollar companies include publicly-traded Jumia and Egyptian fintech Fawry.

The Series A round was jointly led by Sequoia Heritage, a private investment fund and a subsidiary of Sequoia; Founders Fund; payments giant Stripe; and Ribbit Capital. Others in the round include existing investors Partech Africa and Sam Altman, the former CEO of Y Combinator and current CEO of OpenAI.

According to Partech’s general partner Tidjane Deme, the investment will help Wave improve its service.

Since 2018, we’ve supported Wave because we were convinced mobile money is still an unsolved problem in Africa. Wave has great product design, stellar execution, and a strong financial trajectory. We are proud to see it become the first unicorn from Senegal,” Deme added.

Wave is a spinoff from Africa-focused remittance provider Sendwave, and Drew Durbin, and Lincoln Quirk founded both companies. When Wave was launched, it operated within the ecosystem of Sendwave but later became a standalone firm following the acquisition of Sendwave by WorldRemit.

The startup claims to be the largest mobile money player in Senegal and that over half of the country’s adults are active users.

Following this fundraise, Wave will deepen its presence in Senegal and Ivory Coast and grow its already 800-strong team across product, engineering, and business. In addition, Wave will expand into other markets it feels are regulatory-friendly, like Uganda.

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