Back in the early 2000s when Mitchell Elegbe had his card seized by an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) in Scotland, despair was the first feeling he felt – just as anyone in his shoes would – however, unlike most people, he managed to also help himself to a lightbulb moment in spite of the frustrating experience. The encounter in Scotland set the ball rolling for what morphed into Interswitch; Africa’s leading digital payments provider.
Elegbe founded Interswitch in 2002 and 17 years later, the company is set to become Nigeria’s first billion-dollar tech company following the news of US-based payments giant, Visa offering to invest $200 million in the company in return for a 20% stake.
Interswitch’s potential unicorn status is almost four years overdue. In 2016, it was set to raise over $1 billion from a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). However, the plans fell through, no thanks to economic uncertainties in Nigeria at the time.
Now, several months ahead of its reportedly impending IPO in 2020, Interswitch may have just secured a huge boost to its valuation and according to multiple reports, both parties are in ‘advanced talks’ and could be announcing the deal anytime this week.