Meet the young Nigerians who just sold their company for N76 billion

Meet the young Nigerians who just sold their company for N76 billion

<p class="">Paystack’s starry-eyed CEOs weren’t that keen on selling when the Americans came calling. </p>

<h1>American e-payment services company, Stripe, has just acquired Paystack–a Nigerian startup–for over $200 million (N76 billion). </h1>

<p class="">Stripe is an American financial services and software company, with headquarters in San Francisco, California. </p>

<p class="">The company primarily offers payment processing software and application programming interfaces for e-commerce. In a nutshell, the company facilitates online payments and transactions. </p>

<p class=""><strong><em>Techcrunch</em></strong> has described Stripe’s acquisition of Paystack as <em>“the biggest startup acquisition to date to come out of Nigeria, as well as Stripe’s biggest acquisition to date anywhere.” </em></p>

<p class="">Paystack is co-founded by<strong> Ezra Olubi</strong> and <strong>Shola Akinlade,</strong> who bonded in university and commenced work on their dream from the school’s noisy dormitory. </p>

<h2>Stripe of Africa</h2>

<p class=""><em>“I grew up in Lagos. Started writing software around 2002, 2003. That’s when I met Ezra. We went to school together…Babcock university. Sometime in 2015, I figured out I could charge a card from my computer. I thought it was cool,”</em> says Akinlade. </p>

<p class="">Interestingly, the duo always modelled their startup after Stripe which was founded in 2010. </p>

<p class="">Akinlade says when he found out what his credit card could do with a computer,<em> “I showed OO Nwoye, and he was like ‘yo, guy. This is a company. This is Stripe.’ </em></p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/NmI7MDA_/794d193c6b354c0a26493d95ebd8a4d8.jpg" alt="Paystack’s owners are living their dream (Techcentral) "> <figcaption>Paystack’s owners are living their dream (Techcentral) </figcaption> </figure>

<p class=""><em>"We became the first Nigerian company to get into YC (</em><strong><em>Y Combinator</em></strong><em> is an American seed money startup accelerator launched in March 2005. It has been used to launch over 2,000 companies, including Stripe) in 2016. </em></p>

<p class=""><em>“Our story was very simple. The only way we could describe Paystack was ‘it’s like Stripe for Africa.'</em></p>

<p class=""><em>“So many people were asking me, oh, do you want to meet Stripe for Stripe? Do you want to meet the real Stripe? And we did that. </em></p>

<p class=""><em>"We raised our Series A, $8m from Stripe and Visa. Both companies are really, really aligned. I think we are trying to do the same thing…help people start and scale internet businesses, increase the GDP of the internet…and I think about how, over the next few years, there are going to be bigger exits because now it can be done.” </em></p>

<h2>Disturbing Africa</h2>

<p class="">With this acquisition, Paystack can now expand its business to other markets in Africa and pursue its vision of accelerating online commerce across Africa. </p>

<p class="">Interestingly, when Stripe came calling, Paystack’s young owners were not so keen on selling. </p>

<p class=""><em>“Paystack was not for sale when Stripe approached us,”</em> adds Akinlade, with a grin. However, the young tech CEOs saw a path to the fulfillment of their vision with Stripe. </p>

<p class=""><em>“For us, it’s about the mission. I’m driven by the mission to accelerate payments on the continent, and I am convinced that Stripe will help us get there faster. It is a very natural move,” </em>he says. </p>

<p class="">Akinlade hopes that their story inspires other young entrepreneurs in his country and across the world; and motivates them to pursue their dreams against all odds.</p>

<figure class="image" align="center"> <img src="http://ocdn.eu/images/pulscms/OTg7MDA_/c65ba2c001ab2c5a4d80a4928df28311.jpg" alt="Akinlade (Left) and Olubi (Right) began grooming their business from the university dormitory (Guardian Nigeria) "> <figcaption>Akinlade (Left) and Olubi (Right) began grooming their business from the university dormitory (Guardian Nigeria) </figcaption> </figure>

<p class=""><em>“If one of the most sophisticated companies in Silicon Valley can acquire a company from our ecosystem, like, that is just going to unlock a lot of opportunities. This is going to tell people that you can make things and…it can work. You can build your dreams and you can get it done. </em></p>

<p class=""><em>“What would you do if you had all the resources to do it? This is my opportunity to answer that question. I’m a product guy. I just want to work. I just want to ship things. I just want to build stuff. This was the dream and I’m living the dream,”</em> he says. </p>

<p class="">Paystack has announced that it will continue to operate independently for the moment, and that there will be no disruption to its services.</p>

<p class=""><em>“With Stripe’s support and expertise, we will provide deeper integrations with global platforms and accelerate our geographic expansion,”</em> the company said.</p>

<p class="">From the suburbs of Lagos to Silicon Valley is definitely the stuff of dreams and some motivation for aspiring coders and techies in Yaba and Abuja, you’ve got to admit. </p>

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