Paga is a mobile payments service which has quickly gained ground in the fin-tech space and is easily one of the most successful financial companies in the country. Founded by Tayo Oviosu in 2009, as a means of simplifying the mode of making payments in Nigeria, Paga boasts over 200 employees, 11,000 agents in different regions of the country, and 6 million users.
The Startup Story
Getting fired three months into his first job after graduation, Tayo Oviosu switched paths from semiconductor chip design to digital design, the field which forged his journey to founding Paga. While honing his skills and working at other agencies, Tayo resolved to return to Nigeria and make a mark in the country – a goal which he accomplished when he founded Paga in 2009. He credits his inspiration for Paga to the gap he discovered in the day-to-day use of cash by the average Nigerian. He found that banks had not succeeded in fully creating a hassle-free environment for customers to carry out their transactions. This, coupled with the fact that a large majority of Nigerians were not banked or had not taken advantage of the solutions which modern technology had to offer them, drove Tayo to launch Paga.
Thriving Through Bootstrapping and Investments
In its early stage, Paga had to be funded to succeed as a new start-up and this was hardly difficult for Tayo as he single-handedly bootstrapped the business for 6 months through personal savings. Then angel investors. Paga received funding from the prestigious private equity firm Alitheia Capital and the American venture capitalist, Tim Draper. By 2017, Paga had succeeded in raising funds from a total of about 34 investors.
Achievements and Milestones
As a service providing a wide range of payment services through technology, Paga has become one of the most successful payment solutions bringing structure to the financial sector in Nigeria. The platform currently has over 6 million customers and has extended its reach to various sectors of the country through its digital and traditional platforms. Paga is also big on reaching the rural areas of Nigeria in the nearest future.
From Struggling Entrepreneur To Angel Investor
One of the ways in which Tayo Oviosu has revolutionalised Nigeria and Africa as a whole is by investing in newly established start-ups. This is understandable as he was once a budding entrepreneur himself and has seen firsthand the impact angel investments can have on a startup with innovative ideas.
In an interview with Techpoint.Africa, Tayo said:
“When I look at my journey so far, I realise that we are here sitting on the back of 34 people and 6 institutions who took a bet on us on. So I similarly want to find ideas to invest in. I don’t have a lot of money but I want to find people who I can make those kinds of investments and bets as well.”
“Longer term, post-Paga, which is a long time to come, I hope to become a venture capitalist in this market. Angel investing for me is sort of the early base of going towards that. I don’t think I will be the kind of angel investor who wants to be every day in your business. Of course, I’ll be able to help wherever help is needed. But I’m looking for people who want to run their business. I am not trying to run your business. I don’t have that time.”– Tayo added.
Featured Image Source: Pulseng