Flutterwave eyes IPO amid PR nightmare


The IPO would see Flutterwave shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange and possibly the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Sources close to the situation said Bloomberg that recent hires for key positions at Flutterwave were all in preparation for the IPO.

Recall that Flutterwave had recently hired Oneal Bhamban, a former vice president of American Express, as its new chief financial officer. Additionally, the company has hired Gurbhej Dhillon, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs, as its new chief technology officer.

But the planned IPO could be delayed given the generally bearish sentiment in global equity markets.

On top of that, Flutterwave has been grappling with a slew of reputation-damaging allegations and regulatory hurdles since early 2022. And the public relations nightmare this has caused is also expected to delay the planned IPO.

According to corporate lawyer and African startup investor Raj Kulasingam, global investors are not ready to buy the company’s stock amid its current reputation crisis. He said Bloomberg:

“Flutterwave’s story was that of an African fintech and it was leading Africa as the next frontier for fintech and venture capitalists. Then the unraveling of this story began and it hasn’t stopped yet. With all of this, I don’t believe the international public markets are ready for a Flutterwave IPO.

The denouement story Mr. Kulasingam referred to is one involving an alleged toxic work culture, including harassment/bullying by senior executives.

A former employee named Gbemisola Ajayi has already sued the company for $800,000. She argued that the amount was the amount she lost when she was denied an equity award she was entitled to after leaving the company in the first quarter of 2020.

In response to the lawsuit, Flutterwave said Ms Ajayi did not qualify for the stock award.

Flutterwave has also struggled with regulatory hurdles. Last month, a Kenyan high court froze some bank accounts operated by Flutterwave. Business Insider Africa had reported that the bank accounts contained a collective sum of $52.5 million, funds which the Kenyan agency suspected were the proceeds of fraud. But Flutterwave vehemently denied the allegation, describing it as a calculated attempt to smear his reputation.


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