The often-used Silicon Valley term ‘Unicorn’ was coined by Aileen Lee, a venture capital investor and founder of Cowboy Ventures in a TechCrunch article “Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning from Billion-Dollar Startups”. Just like the term depicts rareness, so is the ability to attain the feat. In business, a Unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion and while that figure sounds like a lot, that’s because it is.
According to CB Insights, a private company with a business analytics platform and global database that provides market intelligence on private companies and investor activities, there are more than 700 unicorns as of June 2021 and 30 unicorns with over $10 billions valuation in the world. Stripe is one the companies valued at over $10 billion and in October 2020, the Unicorn purchased Paystack in a deal reportedly worth over $200 million, making it the biggest Nigerian startup acquisition at the time. The tech market in Africa is a huge cash camp with enormous potential and it’s no longer news to investors or innovators looking to make a difference.
In March 2021, Flutterwave announced a $170 million Series C funding, valuing the company at over $1 billion. This development happened while the government was busy dishing out different regulations that in one way or the other stiffen the ease of plying the fin-tech industry but that didn’t stop Flutterwave, they hit the Unicorn mark. It was perceived that the fin-tech giant would be following the steps of Paystack after their acquisition in October 2020, but this round of funding indicates other plans.
Finally, Opay in less than 3 years of operation as a motorcycle startup and financial services company, has attained a valuation of $2 billion, this news hit the tech space as the fastest African Unicorn announced a $400 million fund round led by SoftBank, a Japanese investment firm. The SoftBank Vision Fund is a venture capital fund founded in 2017 that is part of the SoftBank Group, it is the world’s largest technology-focused investment fund with total fair value of it’s funds as of 31 March 2021 at $154 billion.
For context, Nigeria’s tech space is now visible to the global market that matters and this means now is not the time to stifle growth or progress with unbearable rules and regulations, this is the time to support innovators. It is a marvel to have 2 unicorns emerge from the Nigerian market within a year, that’s growth and nobody should be against positive innovations.