Interswitch of Nigeria confirms $1B valuation following Visa investment

November 13, 2019 |

Interswitch – the Nigerian digital payments firm confirmed today that it has reached the status of unicorn following Visa acquiring a minority equity stake in Interswitch.

“The investment turns Interswitch into being among the most valuable fintech businesses in Africa with a $1 billion valuation,” the firm said in a release.

The Visa investment indeed could generate the first of two distinctions of the market for Interswitch — since it should not change the Lagos-based firm’s plans to go public.

According to a source with the situation’s knowledge, “an IPO is still much in the cards, possibly sometime in 2020’s first half.”
The firm did not reveal the Visa’s investment amount and wouldn’t confirm Sky News reporting on the first day of the week that pegged it for 20% at $200 million.

No matter what the exact number is, confirmation of a valuation of $1 billion from Interswitch marks another milestone in the tech in Africa.

Only one startup backed by VC, turned later-stage enterprise on the continent — Jumia — has produced enough revenue and capital for achieving a ten-figure valuation.

Interswitch, for the near to medium term, can stand as sole tech-unicorn of Africa, since Jumia’s volatile share price as well as declining market-cap when the April IPO have lowered the worth of the company below $1 billion.
Mitchell Elegbe founded Interswitch in 2002. It pioneered the infrastructure for digitizing then predominantly paper-ledger of Nigeria along with the cash-based economy.

For now, the company offers much of the rails for the online banking system of Nigeria that serves the largest economy and population in Africa. Interswitch provides many business and personal finance products, inclusive of the Quickteller payment app, and Verve payment cards.
Interswitch, from its Nigerian home-base, has expanded the physical presence to Gambia, Uganda, and Kenya.

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