There has been an ongoing movement among politicians and entrepreneurs to achieve financial inclusion for the citizens of Nigeria. And Tayo Oviosu is one of those people.
Oviosu is the founder and CEO of Paga, a financial mobile payment platform established in 2009 to address the nation’s financial payments challenges. It is also the largest mobile payment platform in the country, according to Nairametrics.
Nigeria’s Greener Pasture
Tayo had left Nigeria when he was barely 16 years old. He studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California and worked for several startups during the first stages of the dot.com boom.
In an interview with Business Insider Africa, he revealed that he also worked for Deloitte Consulting, a company that provides various financial services to people around the world. After that, he returned to the academy to gain an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Oviosu’s path to entrepreneurship was seemingly painted already in the US as he worked there for three more years. He is already equipped with an impressive academic background and rich experience in the corporate field, so venturing further into the US would have been an easy feat for him.
However, he saw greener pasture in his country Nigeria. He wanted to participate in his country’s economic development process, so he went back there in 2008 and started a job in a private equity firm called Travant Capital Partners.
He eventually left the company to become an entrepreneur. Not everything was carved in store for Oviosu when he went back to his country, but he saw something “exciting” with how the private sector was thriving around 2009.
Oviosu spent three months fiddling with various business ideas until he finally came up with Paga.
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The Rise of Paga
Oviosu used his savings from his previous work to bootstrap the firm for the first six months. Additionally, he hired friends to work in various capacities. His old boss, with whom he spent roughly three years at work, as well as friends and family, were among the early investors of Paga.
He discussed how a friend contributed $5,000 in the early years of Paga and how it significantly helped Paga to flourish. From humble beginnings, he eventually acquired 34 investors in 2018, and he was regarded as a pioneer in Nigeria’s Fintech industry.
In March 2018, Paga had 8.2 million users who conducted more than 2 million transactions worth more than $131 million. Additionally, it has handled 48 million transactions and has garnered $3 billion since its founding.
With over 15,000 transacting agents servicing its loyal communities in 35 states across the US, the mobile money platform boasts the largest agent network in Nigeria.
In order to increase inclusion for all Nigerians, it has also partnered with the country’s central bank (the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN) on the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities initiative (SANEF). This initiative aims to increase the number of agents providing financial services to 500,000 Nigerians.
Oviosu said in a statement with Nairametrics that he wants to change people’s lives by providing creative and open access to financial services.
“If you do want to go far, you need to bring people around to your idea. It shouldn’t be about ‘me’. You want other people to come in to actually help take the idea to another place.”
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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla
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