2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies
Illustration by Tomi Um for TIME
April 26, 2021 6:13 PM EDT

The co-founder and CEO of Nigeria’s Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, compares the infrastructure of digital transactions across nations and platforms (think credit cards, debit payments and digital wallets) to plumbing: you don’t want to think about it, you just want it to work. When pandemic lockdowns hit brick-and-mortar businesses in Africa, the digital-payment service was able to rapidly set up digital storefronts for 20,000 customers, throwing them a lifeline. Agboola called the free campaign “keeping the lights on.” Flutterwave hit tech-unicorn status in March when it secured $170 million in Series C funding from global investors, valuing the company at more than $1 billion.

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