July 18

How Wave Rose to Become Francophone Africa’s First Unicorn

In 2016, two graduates of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, conceived a mobile phone-based money transfer and payments service App known as Wave, launching in Senegal two years later. It picked up steam and expanded to Cote D’Ivoire in 2021.

Within four years of operation, Wave Mobile Money has disrupted the industry in both countries through a combination of innovative technology and extremely low transaction fees, rising to become Francophone Africa’s first unicorn at a valuation of $1.7 billion and with half of the mobile money accounts in Senegal.

The vision of co-founders, Drew Durbin and Lincoln Quirk, is to “bring radically inclusive and affordable financial products and services to west Africa, where there is still a big gap in financial inclusion,” Rashmi Pillai, Head of Public Policy at Wave, tells Quartz.

Wave disrupted mobile money in the region

The digital financial company erased the old ways of sending and receiving money and came up with an easier and cheaper method that has taken both countries by storm.

Photo courtesy of Global Devlab.

Source: Quartz Africa (link opens in a new window)

Finance, Telecommunications
digital finance, digital inclusion, digital payments, financial inclusion