Flutterwave is one of Africa’s most successful startups. Founded in 2016, the fintech company has become a key driver of financial inclusion in Africa, making it much easier to conduct cross-border payments in Africa and beyond.
Flutterwave has raised roughly $475 million since its 2016 founding. And, as of its $250 million February Series D, it is worth a reported $3 billion. That makes Flutterwave Africa’s most valuable startup.
It is also among Africa’s most controversial. Just this year it has endured controversies over a reportedly toxic work culture, facilitating money laundering in Kenya, as well as operating without proper licenses in that country.
Despite its recent challenges, news reports last week suggested the company is preparing for an initial public offering this year.
So we are inferring that a key hire made last week is at least in part designed to burnish the company’s reputation in advance of an IPO.
Flutterwave announced last week that Mansi Babyloni has joined the company as its new Chief People and Culture Officer.
Babyloni was previously Flutterwave’s Global Head of People Strategy and Special Projects. Then in 2020, she jumped ship to join PwC’s People and Org. practice in London. She was also a senior consultant at EY earlier in her career.
Now she has rejoined Flutterwave to focus on “people, culture, and processes to drive growth for the organization,” according to Flutterwave’s announcement.
“I’m thrilled to be back at Flutterwave as the Chief People Officer. This role offers me the opportunity to invest in the talent, develop our people and make us the best employer out there – things I am deeply passionate about,” Babyloni said in a statement.
Flutterwave is also increasing its headcount by 38% by bringing on 200 new hires via a new Graduate Trainee Program. The company recruited the new trainees via an application portal that collected 11,000 applications before closing it on 15th July.
The program is Babyloni’s first initiative as CPO.
Babyloni isn’t the only recent hire apparently designed to strengthen Flutterwave’s C-suite in anticipation of an IPO. Back in July, we reported that former Kabbage and American Express executive Oneal Bhambani had joined Flutterwave as its new CFO, and former Goldman Sachs Managing Director Gurbhej Dhillon came on board as the company’s new chief technology officer.
Adding this level of senior talent does not erase the stain of Flutterwave’s recent wave of controversies. However, it will signal to the market that Flutterwave is assembling the kind of team that may help prevent future controversies from erupting.
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