Since the dawn of time, technology has been the driving force behind the evolution and advancement of the human race.
From mechanical inventions, that stood at the core of the industrial revolution to nuclear reactors that sped the supply of energy to all corners of the globe, humans are the intelligent species we are today, because of the technological advancements we continually attain.
Today, tech has been shrunk down to hand held devices. What started off as computing engineering for military use, has now become a means of telecommunication for all, amongst other functionalities. With each passing day, new tech innovations arise to satisfy the ravenous appetite of this extremely tech savvy generation.
Fortunately, there are also Nigerians who have gladly taken up the responsibility of creating said tech innovation and finding ways to help Nigerians integrate the use of tech in their everyday lives, be it in business, domestic engagement. socializing, or personal pleasure.
YNaija is profiling these innovative, attentive and trail blazing individuals who have made new tech initiatives cool and easy to use, so, without further ado, YNaija presents to you, its 2021 #YTECH100; a list profiling 100 of the most prolific Nigerians in tech today.
Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi:
Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi are the brilliant duo responsible for building the remarkable online payment platform, Paystack, which was, in 2020, acquired by US-based financial services and software company; Stripe, for a whopping sum of $200 million (N76 Billion). This is the biggest startup acquisition in Nigeria’s history.
Paystack was founded with the goal of elevating African businesses to the level of their Asian and European counterparts. The ultimate goal of the company is to change the perception that the African economy plays in the minor leagues. Shola and Ezra do this by providing tech-driven solutions to African business owners via the Paystack platform. Today, Paystack can boast of servicing over 60,000 businesses all across Africa.
Joshua Chibueze and Odunayo Eweniyi:
Joshua Chibueze and Odunayo Eweniyi are the masterminds behind one of the country’s most viable and popular online savings platforms; PiggyVest.
PiggyVest was created to promote a savings culture. The inspiration for creating PiggyVest hit Joshua after he came across a tweet from a woman who tweeted that she kept a “kolo” where she put money every day. He adored the idea, decided to digitise it, and together with Odunayo Eweniyi, was able to create what we now know as PiggyVest. PiggyVest has now morphed into a savings and investment platform.
This duo also created PushCV, a service that provides unlimited access to pre-screened and fully tested candidates for top organisations.
For her work, with not just Piggyvest, but also the Feminist Coalition, a group of young Nigerian feminists, Odunayo has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including, Time Magazine 2021 Time 100 Next, and more.
Olugbenga created a platform where Nigerians have the flexibility to conduct financial transactions wherever they find themselves in the world. He is the Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, a post-Series A payments technology company headquartered in San Francisco, with operations across Africa and Europe.
For his work and contributions to the Nigerian tech industry, Olugbenga has received some notable recognitions including being listed on the 2021 Time’s Next List. Before then, he was listed on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list in 2020.
Flutterwave recently attained unicorn status after the payment services fintech received $170 million in its Series C funding.
Babs Ogundeyi is the CEO and co-founder of Kuda Bank, an online banking platform touted as Nigeria’s first full-service digital-only bank, licensed by the Central Bank.
In the second quarter of this year, the bank had over 200,000 qualified users and extended in excess of $20 million in credit. In fact, Kuda Bank is the seventh most valuable bank in Nigeria – valued at over 200 billion naira – more valuable than all tier 2 banks combined.
Kuda bank has become a household name as it offers features other commercial banks may ignore. Also, it is called the bank of the free, and rightly so.
Dare Adekoya and Hanu Fejiro Agbodje:
Dare Adekoya founded Abeg, a fintech app that was created to give Nigerians a medium to share funds, outside the use of conventional banks. While Hanu Fejiro Agbodje founded Patricia, an e-commerce company that provides alternative solutions to payments through the use of Bitcoin.
Dare received a lot of publicity when Abeg was announced as the chief sponsor of the reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, tagged Shine Ya Eye, 2021 Edition. It was rumoured that he sponsored the show with a whopping 1 billion naira.
Patricia has processed over 10 billion naira in transactions since inception. In 2020, Hanu was the recipient of numerous honours, including Africa Youth Awards, 100 Most Influential Young Africans, BusinessDay 2020 Bank and other Financial Services Award (BAFI AWARD), BusinessDay Next Bulls Award 2020, Scream Award for CEO of the year, Scream Award for Technology Company of the year.
Tunde Kehinde makes resources available to those who have game-changing ideas. He is the co-founder of Lidya, a digital funding platform that uses thousands of data points to help great business owners access financing and build a credit score.
Since the business’s inception in 2016, Lidya has disbursed over 15,000 loans to small businesses in Poland, Czech Republic and Nigeria, and has indirectly created around 1,500 jobs across Africa. He has a demonstrated history in investing and financing major ventures as he helped co-found the mammoth online retail store; Jumia. He is also the co-founder of ACE, an indigenous logistics company.
Tayo Oviosu is the founder of Paga, a tech solution every Nigerian with the immediate need to dispense cash has been grateful for. Paga has become an imperative alternative for ATM withdrawals, and is a valuable product for business owners, as it offers seamless financial transactions with amazing features and options.
Felix Imafidon: Felix Imafidon is the co-founder and Managing Director of reQuid technology, an investment firm that aims to improve processes in the agriculture sector through tech innovations. He is also the founder of Vericore, an Information Technology Service company, whose main goal is building web applications and enterprise solutions.
As if outdoing himself, Felix founded Teviit Network, an IT firm with a lot of experience in education technology, including pioneering Computer-based Tests and Game-based Learning in Nigeria. He is the founder of the WizitUp eLearning website and learning app complete with cartoons, songs and games.
Felix has dedicated most of his life to affording children in Africa basic learning amenities. He is an advocate for education, as he holds a firm belief that education is all it takes to transform the state of affairs in Africa.
Yanmo Omorogbe and Richmond Bassey:
Yanmo and Richmond are the co-founders and co-CEOs of a tech product responsible for creating wealth through stock trading – InvestBamboo.
InvestBamboo is a digital investment platform that gives Nigerians real-time access to buy, hold, or sell stocks listed on the U.S. stock market right from their mobile phones or computers.
Ruth Iselema is the founder and CEO of Bitmama, a cryptocurrency trading platform that allows Africans trade with bitcoins. Her love for finance began in her preteen days when she would choose to watch CNN as opposed to Cartoon Network like every other kid, but her desire to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrencies began in 2015, through a friend and a couple of Telegram and WhatsApp groups she joined.
Bitmama is a pun playing on Bitcoin and mama, and since 2015, she has been referred to as the matriarch of cryptocurrency trading.
Ben Eluan and Osezele Orukpe:
Ben Eluan and Osezele Orukpe’s Blueloop was accepted into the Winter 2021 batch of US-based accelerator, Y Combinator. Ben and Osezele, through the parent company Blueloop, created Flux, an app that has a feature allowing bitcoin traders link their cryptocurrency wallet to a digital banking app for easier transactions.
Users can receive crypto from all over the world and instantly convert it to fiat. Since Flux was created late last year, it has processed over $460,000 in transactions across its crypto and fiat platform. It also boasts over $700,000 in monthly transactions.
Edward Popoola and Razaq Ahmed:
Edward and Razaq’s shared enthusiasm for investing in indigenous businesses led them to create the wealth management platform, Cowrywise.
Cowrywise was built to bridge the gap between having high digital connection levels and having access to high-quality savings and investment products. The platform currently boasts 19 different mutual funds.
They raised $3 million in pre-series A funding in 2020.
With the daring goal of eliminating financial suppression all over the continent, Tosin set out to create the company, TeamApt Limited, a financial software company focused on building solutions for African banks, businesses, and people to manage their money.
He founded the platform in 2015 and started servicing 26 financial institutions and processing $160 million in monthly transactions a year later, without raising a dime. The company’s current key numbers include a transaction value of $3.9 billion across all products while creating employment directly and indirectly for 4,000 people.
Abdul is a tech entrepreneur and investor who has embarked on the relentless pursuit of enriching and backing businesses in Africa. He plans to do this by powering the internet economy in Africa. He is CEO and founder of Mono, an API fintech startup. Mono organizes different financial data in a single API for firms and third-party developers. Mono raised $500,000 pre-seed in 2020 with plans to build Plaid for Africa. But this year, Mono experienced even more success, by raising $2 million in seed investment, after being accepted into Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 batch in February.
Jide Odunsi and Ladi Delano:
Jide and Ladi are the founders of Moove, a Nigeria-based auto-financing startup. Moove’s business model involves providing up to 95% in vehicle financing to its customers, which can be paid back either in 24, 36, or 48 months using a percentage of their weekly earnings.
They are Uber’s sole partner in sub-Saharan Africa for vehicle financing. Last year, Moove managed to raise $23 million Series A. They also founded Grace Lake Partners Limited, a Venture Studio employing over 200 people based on the concept of creating shared value.
Chioma Okotcha and Uche Nnadi:
Chioma and Uche are the founders of Payhippo, Nigeria-based lending and business financing platform. Barely a year old, the startup was accepted into Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 cohort, joining 167 other startups, which automatically translates to $125,000 in seed funding, and other networking and mentorship opportunities.
In just less than two years, Payhippo has disbursed 3,000 loans worth over $4.1 million to SMEs within the country.
Fara Ahiru Jituboh and David Peterside:
Fara and David are the founders of Okra, a Nigerian API fintech startup that empowers companies and developers build products with seamless access to inclusive financial data and secure payments.
One year in and they have been able to secure a $3.5 million seed investment by a US-based private equity financing firm, Venture capital. The company raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from TLcom Capital before that.
Okra currently has 100 digital businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, and fintech clients, including Interswitch, Access Bank, uLesson, and Aella App.
David is the co-founder of Vocoa, a business tool to enable farmers keep track of their businesses and income. Fara is the owner of Shixels Studios, a creative agency that helps businesses establish or improve their web presence.
Eke Eleanyaiyi Urum:
Eke Urum is the CEO and Founder of RiseVest, a digital dollar asset manager providing Nigerians with access to foreign investments. Eke is all about using tech to provide financial solutions in the unorthodox Nigerian economy. He is an entrepreneur, investor and financial analyst, who helped in building the popular cryptocurrency trading platform; Buycoins.
His understanding of fintech came from having lived amongst different cultures. His quest for education and a career in tech has taken him to places like South Carolina, and Oklahoma. Prior to founding Buycoins and Risevest, he worked as a Tax Specialist for PWC, a world class accounting firm, amongst other work experiences that boosted his knowledge of tech and managing finances.
Solape Akinpelu and Yomi Ogunleye:
Every great idea is born of personal experience and a realization that this experience can be better. For Solape Akinpelu, this case is no different. She describes herself as a financial feminist and the initiative she founded; Hervest, validates this moniker. In 2020 she teamed up with Yomi Ogunleye to create this platform, and just within a year of coming into business, Hervest has over 4000 women registered on the platform.
Hervest is, as described; “an inclusive fintech company” serving underserved and excluded women in Africa through a gender lens. The initiative is all about empowering enterprising African women, especially those in the agricultural sector. Earlier this year, Hervest raised a $ 100,000 round of funding from friends and family.
Solape, came to the conclusion of solving the problem of female farmers in rural areas, after spending 12 years in the financial sector. Solape has worked on Nigerian’s top financial brands including Skye Bank, Sterling Bank, Wema Bank, Leadway Assurance, amongst others. She is savvy financial expert, thus the reason she feels confident managing he livelihood of thousands of women.
Yomi who is the technical adviser at Hervest is a proficient software engineer. Before hoping on board with Hervest, he had worked with some really high end organizations including; Cool FM, Meristem Securities Limited and EXB Digital.
Tomi Solanke is the co-founder and CEO at Trove Finance. Trove Finance is a fintech company whose stated goal is to allow Nigerians participate in the global economy and own a piece of over 10,000 of the most valuable companies of the world. The platform allows its users buy and sell international and local stocks.
Within the first year of its launch Trove recorded its users’ transaction figures and it read that its users have invested more than ₦2 billion (> $5 million) using the platform.
Tomi is also the founder of DropBuddies, a peer to peer delivery platform that connects people who need packages delivered with people headed towards the destination of the package.
Chijioke Dozie made the decision to digitise the loaning process for business owners at a time when the idea did not have the reception it has today. The result is a startup called Carbon.
Carbon is a platform that provides individuals access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for personal financial management. The platform is recorded to have disbursed over $40 million to consumers since inception.
The App for the platform was launched in 2016, and after just two years in the market, was downloaded by over 1 million users.
Mitchell Elegbe is the CEO and founder of Interswitch Group. Interswitch, founded in Nigeria in 2002, has a physical presence in Kenya, Uganda, and in 2019, claimed the status of a “unicorn” after a 20% stake purchase by Visa valued the company at $1 billion. In September 2020, Interswitch was reported to be in talks with potential investors ahead of a planned initial public offering (IPO) in London.
In June 2021, rating agency Moody’s said Interswitch has a “solid profitability and liquidity profile, owing to good cash flow generation capacity”.
Mitchell has been the recipient of numerous awards during the span of his long and rich career in tech including the CNBC/Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) for West Africa, Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Harvard Business School Association (Nigeria) Leadership Award in the General Management category.
Timi Ajiboye is a tech entrepreneur who is very passionate about using tech to solve problems. Asides being an entrepreneur, he is an author, a public speaker, a venture capitalist and a software developer.
He is the CEO & CTO of Helicarrier, a company whose stated mission is to financially connect Africans, wherever they are in the world. The products under Helicarrier include, Buycoins, Buycoins Pro, Sendcash Pay, NTNT, and more.
He is currently the currently the Co-founder and CEO of Buycoins, a cryptocurrency trading platform. He is also the Co-founder of Backdrop, a travel app that allows its users locate tourist friendly places on their trip to a foreign country.
Like he mentions in his bio, he likes to make things, especially things on computers.
For Chinedu Okafor, its all about making an impact with words, creating a profound impression on the audience with the intended narrative.