Flutterwave Stakes Future On Tricky Balance Between Payments & Commerce

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It’s early 2014 and Iyinoluwa “E” Aboyeji is in a bit of a pickle. Just a year before, E had launched Fora, a distance learning platform for African Universities, with co-founders Ian Carnevale, Nadayar Enegesi, and Brice Nkengsa.

But Fora didn’t quite take off; it had gotten to that infamous “pivot or die” moment that most entrepreneurs know too well. 

Turns out a Hail Mary was just around the corner. It was mostly about survival at the time, so no one knew to expect a major turnaround, let alone not one but two African tech unicorns.

Encounters with Jeremy Johnson and Christina Sass happened, and so did the then-curious idea of transforming Fora into a platform for turning unemployed young Africans into software engineering gurus within six months, with free tutorship and even salaries. Fora soon became Andela, a company now worth around USD 1.5 Bn.

However, in those early days, E and the team faced many troubles, and one of the biggest headaches happened to be the small matter of paying the developers on their roster. Andela was a US-domiciled entity operating in Nigeria, Kenya and a few other African nations, so payments that ought to be routine was actually a lot of trouble.

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