by Wilfred Okiche
As the annual #YNaijaPowerList enters its 4th year, we bring you the most influential young Nigerians under 40 navigating the arcane and increasingly complex world of technology. Our list ranges from mobile gamers, industry captains, corporation heads and serial start up inventors. They are young, tough and unafraid to take the plunge. Our power 10
Olaniran, 26, is the founder and CEO of Nigerian gaming company, Gamsole. Already Nigeria’s most successful and highest paid Windows mobile game developer, Olaniran has scored over 9 million game downloads both locally and internationally with titles such as Candy smasher and Mega chicken. A graduate of Computer Science and Mathematics from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Olaniran who founded the company in 2012, has secured venture backing from 88mph, a Kenyan seed fund.
This whizkid has a Law degree from the University of Ado Ekiti but spends the better part of his time on the website, Tech Cabal where he serves as editor-in-chief and defender of the newsroom. TechCabal under Bankole’s leadership has steadily ascended the Alexa rankings, while earning its title as the sizzling new authority on all matters tech with carefully researched articles and editorials. Bankole’s TechCabal has been able to create a fertile space that attracts the brightest minds to contribute articles, think pieces and expert opinion.
It is not for nothing that Gbenga Sesan is known as the Oracle in tech circles. Indeed almost nothing techy happens without his knowledge. And blessings. A fierce believer in the power of ICT to drive change, Sesan’s Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) connects young Nigerians with ICT-enabled tools and opportunities. PIN recently launched #DigitalJobs, a portal that provides young people with hands on training, mentorship and employment opportunities. He has worked with countless public, private and international organizations and has been listed on CNN as one of the top 10 leading African tech voices. When Mr Sesan speaks, people listen.
A former industry manager at Google, Honey Ogundeyi started Fashpa.com, a retail e-commerce start up whose main focus is to provide on trend clothing at affordable prices, with the use of technology and a focus on key areas like sourcing, logistics, customer service and user experience. The leading fashion online retailer based in Nigeria, Fashpa retails a mix of high street fashion from international and local brands. Fashpa’s own designs have been spotted on celebrities like Kelly Rowland and Angela Simmons.
Aboyeji, 23, is a co-founder and recruitment director at Andela Inc, a global talent accelerator that trains young intelligent Africans to be world-class developers before connecting them with employers around the world who are in search of top tier technical talent. Andela’s tough recruitment process invites young people to apply for the Andela Fellowship. Applicants are evaluated using a combination of online aptitude tests, in-person interviews, and a free boot camp experience. With an acceptance rate of .53% Andela is as selective as they come.
iROKO partners’ Njoku is bold, brash, bullish. He is also undeniably one of the most powerful men in Nigeria’s tech space. iROKO has been able to raise an unprecedented $13 million in venture capital funding. With over 500,000 registered subscribers and a peerless collection of local material, iROKO keeps growing from strength to strength. Njoku also co-founded SPARK, an umbrella company that assumed the responsibility of building and grooming profitable internet start-ups. For those who care- and for some who don’t,- Njoku shares his business experiences regularly via his popular blog posts. One thing is certain, no one makes power moves like this man.
Ehimuan-Chiazor was appointed Country Manager for Google in 2012. Prior to this, she worked with Shell Development Petroleum Corporation and Microsoft UK and earned an executive MBA from the London Business School. As the head of Google’s operations in Africa’s largest internet community, Ehimuan is charged with the responsibility of representing the company in all its business development projects and partnership opportunities in the region.
Disu is the founder and CEO of Information Secure Limited (iSec), a business and socioeconomic solutions development company that was endorsed by the CBN headquarters to be part of the National anti-fraud solution co. iSec developed secure authentication technology for the Nigerian finance industry and was in the news recently for raising $10 million from Synergy Capital, making it the largest known first round of capital raised by any Nigerian technology start up to date. iSec was nominated for the 2015 World Economic Forum Innovator Award.
Essien is the founder of Hotels.ng, Nigeria’s largest hotel booking website and one of the most exciting start-ups to emerge from Nigeria’s evolving tech space. The online portal allows users from all over the world to book rooms from a selection of over 6000 hotels. The company has so far raised more than $250,000 in funding from Spark Fund among other investors and has pooled resources heavily via crowdsourcing as well as on the spot tours to amass an incredible listing of Nigerian hotels.
A graduate of Electrical/Electronics Engineering from the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Onigbinde worked in First Bank Nigeria Plc and Access Bank Plc before striking out on his own to set up BudgIT, a Co Creation Hub-incubated start up focused on making the Nigerian budget simpler and more easily accessible to all Nigerians. Onigbinde has kept busy working on ideas like Tracka, a social platform that allows concerned individuals collaborate and track capital projects in their community, and Fitila.ng, a data crunching platform that has opened a new chapter in data journalism. He was a finalist at last year’s CNBC young business leader prize.