20 TecH Entrepreneurs


Special report

In continuation of its series on Nigeria’s growing fintech sector, THISDAY highlights 20 more leading personalities in the sector. writes Obinna Chima

Bolaji Akinboro

Akinboro is the Chairman of the Board at Voriancorelli. Voriancorelli is a marketplace company that provides a platform to match buyers, sellers, commodity aggregators, logistics partners, financiers and food processors to ensure the economic wellbeing of all stakeholders. Akinboro is also the Co-Founder of Cellulant Nigeria Limited. According to the Chairman, Voriancorelli was designed to connect businesses with opportunities that would help them grow thereby solving the problem of market linkages.

Nonso Okpala

Okpala is the Group Managing Director/CEO at VFD Group Plc, a proprietary investment firm in Nigeria with interests in foreign exchange, debt investment, international remittance, real estate and payment businesses. Until recently, he was the CFO at Heirs Holdings, an African proprietary investment company. Okpala began his career in 2004 with KPMG where he had the opportunity to work with Nigeria’s top tier banks and other financial institutions. VFD’s flagship solution is its ‘V’ bank app which was launched in March 2020, as a digital bank. In the past 10 months, the app has acquired more than 40 million users and its users are mostly between age 21 and 45 years, spread across Nigeria. Its active users are mostly in Lagos, Anambra, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu.

Ekechi Nwokah

Nwokah is the CEO and Co-founder at Migo, a US-based fintech start-up. In 2019, Migo closed a $20-million Series-B round led by Brazil-focused venture capital (VC) firm Valor Capital Group. Migo’s platform enables companies to offer credit to their customers, augmenting traditional bank and payment card infrastructure. The startup was founded in 2014 by a Nigerian team. Nwokah is a former computer scientist who previously served at Amazon Web Service’s A9.

Chioma Nkechika

Nkechika is the CEO CoralPay Technology Limited.CoralPay is a CBN-licensed payment solution service provider (PSSP), a non-bank acquirer and a switching company operating in Nigeria since 2004.CoralPay in 2019, deployed the first interoperable USSD and mobile payment platform to Nigerians desirous of a seamless and secure payment solution. The solution allows for enhanced interoperability amongst stakeholders in the payment ecosystem. It allows customers using the USSD short codes of their respective banks alongside their Mobile Apps to pay for goods and services directly from their bank accounts and wallets.

Emeka Emetarom

Emetarom is the Co-Founder and Executive Director at AppZone. He has immense exposure in business management as well as the IT industry, at various levels. His passion for IT resulted in his foray into the electronic prepaid airtime distribution. In 2006, he championed the development of Nigeria’s premier mobile airtime distribution service.AppZone is Africa’s provider of home-grown banking and payment solutions with a mission to provide technology that empowers people with unlimited access to financial services.

Tosin Eniolorunda

Eniolorunda is the founder and CEO of TeamApt, a financial software company focused on building solutions and running infrastructure for African banks, businesses, and people to manage their money.Founded in 2015 with the goal of creating financial solutions for optimising partner banks and financial institutions’ operations. It also focuses on how to improve the experiences of customers and businesses. TeamApt presently services over 26 financial institutions and its products have helped optimise core bank back-office operations.

Oluseun Onigbinde

Onigbinde is the Co-Founder of BudgIT. He has worked on several projects funded by MacArthur Foundation, Ford FounDFID, Open Society, OXFAM and Omidyar Network.BudgIT is a Nigerian civic organisation that applies technology for citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change. The company launched operations in Lagos in 2011 to provide social advocacy using technology. In 2014, it developed Tracka, to track the implementation of government projects in various community to ensure service delivery. Tracka allows Nigerians to post pictures of developmental projects in their communities to communicate with their elected representatives, and demand completion of the government projects in their respective neighborhoods.

Chika Nwobi

Nwobi is founder of Decagon where the top 0.5 per cent of Nigerian graduates are being recruited and trained into world class software engineers to fuel the growth of the African technology ecosystem. Decagon’s engineers now work for companies like Carbon, Paga, Access Bank, Sterling, Union Bank, Terragon, and Interswitch. US-based companies like Varuna which was recently recognised by Google also use Decagon engineers as does the largest job board in the world based in Austin, Texas. Nwobi has been one of the pioneers of the growth of the tech industry. As far back as 2001, he led a team of young Nigerians to launch Nigeria’s first mobile internet service in partnership with MTN as well as the first mobile banking service in Nigeria in 2003. Nwobi is also co-founder of Cheki which became Africa’s largest online cars marketplace with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. Other companies he has invested in include Babybliss, Bamboo, Moneymie and DavtonLearn.

Kelechi Ekeghe

Ekeghe is the CEO at Options.ng, Nigeria’s free, independent online comparison platform for products across industries and providers. Ekeghe, who until last year was a staff of Union Bank, joined the company to help build the business and scale the firm along the lines of its growth objectives. Ekeghe is a seasoned digital business leader with a deep understanding of digital marketing and transformation strategies. He has over 15 years of experience across digital businesses, the banking sector and has pioneered start-ups in e-Commerce as well as consulting. He is also an experienced brand expert and a capacity-building coach. He started his career in business development at Connectnigeria.com, before he moved to Jobberman.com, then to Fidelity Bank Plc where he pioneered the bank’s digital marketing function and later to Union Bank where he led the bank’s digital platforms’ team.

Titi Adeoye

Adeoye is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Sankore, a Wealth Management firm that runs Nigeria’s only “Wealth as a Service” platform offering investment strategy, products, advice and technology to the clients of Private Banks and other financial institutions.Her skills in investment strategy were honed at firms like Goldman Sachs in New York where she was able to learn the intricacies of asset allocation and portfolio optimisation. Her area of expertise is strategies for the creation, growth and preservation of individual or family wealth in Africa with a focus on alternative asset classes like venture capital, real estate and agriculture due to the higher potential for financial and social returns.

Akin Jones

Jones is the Co-founder of Aella Credit. Started in 2015, the US-incorporated company was launched to simplify and open up financial services to support financial inclusion in emerging markets. The startup operates in two countries Nigeria and the Philippines. Aella’s main offering is lending. It provides quick loans directly to consumers and uses proprietary information and information from credit bureaus to gauge the creditworthiness of borrowers. It also offers a service called “Network loans” where companies can sign up on Aella and allow their employees to borrow loans on the platform. In 2020, it raised a new round of funding to enable it scale its financial solutions. The micro-lending company had announced a $10 million debt funding from Singapore-based HQ Financial Group (HQF).

Emeka Iloelunachi

Iloelunachi is the MD/CEO at FastCredit Limited. His career spanned from Branch and Regional Operation Services, Product Management, Business Banking and E-business as the Group Head e-Channel Services Operations in Daimond Bank. Consequnetly, he joined Page International Financial Services (PIFSL) in 2015 as Head Digital Business, and managed the Retail lending before rising to Vice President. Fast Credit Limited was established in 2014 to operate as a finance company under the Bank and Other Financial Act, in line with Central Bank of Nigeria regulations to carry out the business of financing personal, business and emergency loans as well as create a platform for the investment of wholesale funds via investment notes and borrowings from individual and institutions for good returns and fund safety.

Ibikunle Adeoluwa

Adeoluwa is the Co-founder of AirSmat, a software company founded on the belief that drones will shape the future. In 2020, AirSmat launched a revolutionary Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered software platform to help farm owners and other corporate organisations have access to actionable intelligence that will help drive efficiency in cost savings, enhance their business operations and improve their profitability. The company had disclosed that the products, SmatCrows, SmatAI, SmatSat and SmatMapper, were the first of its kind that would enable predicable improved crop yield for farm corporations. It explained that its innovation was born out of the quest to use technology to improve modern day farming with seamless data gathering.

Nelson Ochonogor

Ochonogor is the Co-founder/Chief Operating Officer, GetRates, a one-stop source of credible investment information that promotes investor education and enlightenment. The firm is a financial product marketplace for retail investors in Nigeria. Ochonogor’s work experience span through banking and the fintech industry with critical roles in Business Development, Product conceptualisation/development, innovations and strategy, electronic/digital banking and project management at reputable institutions such as First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Heritage Bank, Access Bank and ATM Consortium.

Justice Irivwieri

Irivwieri is the founder of Paygital founded in 2019 as a payment gateway that helps business process secured online and offline transactions. It is a new gen (escrow) payment system, which permits satisfactory buying and selling within and outside eCommerce market activities. Paygital is a chat market Escrow payment processor for buyers and sellers on social media platforms. This is as a result of the gradual shift of interest from online shopping platform to buying and selling on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, whatsapp amongst others.

Seun Oyediran

Oyediran is the Country Managing Director, Lendigo. He has spent over 12-years creating significant economic value that runs into tens of millions of dollars for the four financial service companies he has worked for. His core expertise is in the art of deal-making, developing and executing growth plans, capital raising, managing P&L, and leading teams to greater productivity and overall improved performance year on year. Lendigo is a financial technology firm dedicated to SMEs through technology and innovative practices. It provides easy and fast access to working capital to Nigerian SMEs according to their individual requirements and suited to their business and finance needs.

Nnazilim Egbuonu

Egbuonu is the co-founder of Mint Digital Bank. Mint Digital Bank, a subsidiary of Finex Microfinance Bank. The bank offers Africans a new way to carry out core banking transactions, through application and web technology. He began his entrepreneurial journey by co-founding an inter-state bus aggregation platform called ‘Oya,’ later acquired by Wakanow.com. After he existed Oya, he co-founded a leading air travel aggregator company called Travelbeta.com with over $40 million in transaction volume since inception. He graduated from University of Nigeria Nsukka, where I obtained a degree in Biochemistry.

Hussein Azeez

Azeez is the founder of Paychange, a mobile payment platform with over 7,000 users. He’s a will driven entrepreneur with an interest in economic prosperity and poverty reduction. He is proficient in product/services development and implementation strategies. He has previously founded two tech startups.Paychange is a web and mobile platform designed to enable cashless payments between merchants and customers through USSD, QR technology, and a unique identification and wallet system.

Bosun Tijani

Tijani is a Nigerian-British entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Co-Creation Hub, a pan-African innovation enabler that works at the forefront of accelerating the application of innovation and social capital for a better society. CcHUB which stands at the forefront of the fastest moving technology industry trends has maintained its focus of shaping the economy and the future of Africa.The firm is dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity.

Abbey Wemimo

Wemimo is the co-founder of Esusu, a fintech startup that helps individuals save money and build credit. In 2019, the company raised $1.6 million to scale, expand market share, and focus on product development. The seed round was led by Acumen Fund with participation from Sinai Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Katapult Accelerator, Plug and Play Tech Center, Global Good Fund, Temerity Capital Partners, and prominent angel investors. Esusu serves lower-income and historically credit-challenged consumers, while simultaneously empowering these consumers with credit-building tools that can transform their access to wealth-building – rather than predatory products and services.