StartupsTech

Flutterwave’s game-changing acquisition of Disha: The way forward

Flutterwave's game-changing acquisition of Disha: The way forward

On Wednesday, Flutterwave announced its acquisition of Disha, the Nigerian digital platform that enables digital creators to curate, sell digital content, create portfolios, and receive payments from their audience the world over.

With the spike in the value of creative content globally, there is the emergence of digital art auctions, through the use of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that quicken the way through which auctioning of creative digital content is done. With the value of NFT sales surging to an astounding high of over $10.7 billion as of the third quarter of 2021, there is a huge addressable market in this newfound area of interest. Furthermore, the increased interest within the ecosystem of positioning for the new internet revolution in the Metaverse has placed Africa’s ecosystem players on the ready to ensure they are not left out of this future.

This year has witnessed a number of acquisitions and mergers within the African ecosystem, with the latest acquisitions coming from E-Settlement (E-SL)’s acquisition of QuickCash, MFS Africa’s acquisition of Baxi Box, Alerzo’s acquisition of Shago Payments, and Sendy’s acquisition of Kamtar. These acquisitions are proof of how the African tech ecosystem is evolving and growing, moving to a point where consolidations of growth potential are important for the sustainable existence of the tech ecosystem. At this stage, big sector giants, that have captured a bulk of investments, have to salvage other innovative companies through their own exits via mergers and acquisitions.

Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe captures this succinctly when he says,

Why? Nigeria’s tech space is now having category-kings and whenever that phase is attained, investors look at whatever any upstart will have to go against as they look for growth funds. When investors punt, the kings will magically become the ‘saviours’, buying whatever that is available on the path.

This move by Flutterwave is the first of its public acquisitions since it attained unicorn status this year. The dynamic payments platform is looking at expanding its user base through Disha’s network in over 34 countries globally and will enable Disha’s customers to be able to make, receive and withdraw money from their accounts via the payment platform. Over the past 12 months, Disha has acquired over 20,000 users and is keen on expanding further its presence and brand across the continent.

Disha was built by Rufus Oyemade, Evans Akanno, and Blessing Abeng in 2019, after a successful stint with their own creative agency, Cregital that served clients by building responsive websites for them. The company, Disha, offers an even more creative platform for users to easily curate and build their own business and personal websites without the hassles of coding.

Flutterwave's game-changing acquisition of Disha: The way forward
Disha helps creators to easily do their creative designs without worrying about coding. Image Credits: Digital Times, 2021

Though both companies operate in different sectors, Flutterwave recognizes also the wealth of opportunity in the vastly-expanding creator economy globally, with over $100 billion in market size, and has moved to reserve a piece of the pie.

Commenting on the acquisition, Olugbenga GB Agboola, Founder and CEO at Flutterwave, remarked:

At Flutterwave, we care about the creators on Disha who have over the years found a home for their craft. That is why we’re making this huge investment to continue to support their growth. Beyond Disha users, this is an exciting effort to equip the global creator community of about 50 million individuals, with innovative tools to grow their craft. We are thrilled to be supporting Disha to provide new opportunities for freelancers and creators to showcase and receive value for their creativity, across the world.

Despite the acquisition, the dynamic creator platform will retain its independent operations while expanding further its vision and base.

Reports from Techbooky reveal that the two-year-old startup, Disha, had been having a topsy-turvy journey, in spite of its growth in users, in terms of drawing in significant revenue. Hard-hit by the pandemic, the startup had announced its intentions to shut down, before getting a lifeline from Flutterwave, to keep up the platform, and ramp up its activities. Sharing his perspective on the news, Rufus Oyemade, Software, and Architectural Lead, Disha, said:

Flutterwave’s acquisition will accelerate our path to being an important toolset for creators to showcase and get paid for their work from all over the world. The new payment feature will support creators who will in turn become key players in the global creator economy. Disha earlier used a US-based payment partner for collections, but now that we’re part of Flutterwave, it’s amazing how we can provide excellent global services from Africa. We’re excited to continue to provide creators and freelancers with tools that add value to their craft. We’ll be focusing on features and integrations that help creators easily schedule meetings and exhibitions, build sustainable income through subscriptions and leverage emerging technologies in the creator space.

Gearing for exits

African startups have to be prepared to position themselves even better for exits, as the startup ecosystem continues its upward surge. It is expected that as this growth in the ecosystem continues, mergers and acquisitions will become an even more common exit strategy. Exit opportunities will also improve across the continent as we continue our progress across the ecosystem.

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