Nigeria has the largest economy and it is the most populous country in Africa which make it easier for Nigeria owned tech startups to thrive because of the readily available market and this article curates some of the 25 most powerful Nigerian tech entrepreneurs that are doing incredibly well.
It is not hyped to say that Nigeria stands taller than the rest of Africa and will compete with the world over when it comes to brilliance and smart minds that are excelling in the tech space.
There are several successful tech startups in Nigeria which are owned or cofounded by Nigerian entrepreneurs, and this article can’t capture all in this post but here are our pick of the top 25 most power Nigerian tech entrepreneurs.
1. Mitchell Elegbe (CEO, Founder Interswitch Group) tops the list as one of the most Powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs.
Mitchell was born on November 14, 1973, and he is a graduate of the prestigious University of Benin in Edo state where bagged his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Mitchell Founded Interswitch in 2002 and should be Nigeria’s most popular and trusted payment company.
Interswitch is Nigeria’s foremost tech company, and it thrived even when there was no infrastructure or technology on the ground that supports electronic payment in Nigeria in those early founding years.
Mitchell Elegbe’s Interswitch has mentored and given support to several other tech startups in Nigeria, making him one of the powerful Nigerian tech entrepreneurs of this generation.
(Gbenga Sesan was born on July 27, 1977)
Gbenga Sesan is popular for the role he plays as being a digital right activist in Nigeria. He came to prominence in 2006 – 2008 as he served in the Telecommunication and Information technology sector of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidential 26 man’s task force team to restructure the government’s institutions and organizations
Gbenga was again called upon to serve the country from 2012 – 2013, as part of the Presidential Committee on Roadmap for the Achievement of Accelerated Universal Broadband Infrastructure and Services Provision.
The role Gbenga Sesan has played is key to several Nigerian Tech Companies, and this makes him one of the powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs.
Kudos to Jeremy Johnson and Andela for being so influential to the training of so many young Nigerians in software programming and have turned them into world-class developers.
Andela has received a $24 million investment from Mark Zuckerberg and so many international awards and recognitions for its work in the Nigerian Tech industries and Tech Startups across the continent.
Jeremy Johnson has made it’s marked as one of the top Tech Nigerian Companies to have inspired so many young entrepreneurs.
(born March 28, 1991)
The name Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji is one of the most powerful Tech Entrepreneurs in Nigeria because he is the co-founder of Flutterwave and Andela.
Iyin got nominated for the Future Awards Africa Prize for Young Person from Nigeria.
He presently heads the Fund for Africa’s Future where he helps founders, philanthropists and investors from around the world understand how to build fast-growing and impactful technology businesses in Africa.
Gbenga Agboola is the CEO and Co-founder Flutterwave which was established in 2016 and has become a big player for payment companies in Africa.
Flutterwave has international recognition because top brands like Uber, Booking.com, and Transferwise all use Flutterwave to complete payments transactions.
Gbenga Agboola was with Access Bank and a key player behind the development of PayWithCapture (a payment product built upon the Flutterwave API), currently heads the company as he took over the reins of affairs from Iyin Aboyeji in October 2018.
6. Tayo Oviosu – Founder/CEO, Paga Makes His Mark As One Of The Most Powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs
Tayo Oviosu rise to grace and prominence is a big win for all Nigerian Tech Startups. Paga has over 11 million users, and it generates several millions of dollars in its recurring revenue.
Tayo’s Oviosu success story has given so many young entrepreneurs in Nigeria the hope and motivation that is needed to thrive in a country like Nigeria because Paga did defy the odds as it succeeded where too many Tech Startups failed.
In this fast-paced world where most business transactions are carried online. Everyone needs a secured and assured way of making payments online.
Paystack came as one of the secured online payment solutions that process over 20 Million dollars monthly.
The African internet economy is expanding quickly, with online commerce in the region growing 21% year-over-year, 75% faster than the global average.
To help increase Africa’s online GDP, Stripe has agreed to acquire Paystack, a technology company based in Lagos that makes it easy for organizations of all sizes to collect payments from around the world.
8. Adetayo Bamiduro The co-Founder and CEO of MAX.ng Lagos
Adetayo Bamiduro is the CEO and Co-founder Max.ng and was founded in 2015. One of the uniqueness of Max.ng is that it is a pioneering mobility Nigerian owned company that operates and cover sub-Saharan Africa.
Max.ng is fully involved in financial services and EV infrastructure for Africa’s $100B transportation industry.
Max.ng only just closed a $7.5m fundraising round backed by Yamaha, Mastercard, Novastar Ventures and Breakthrough Ventures. This fundraising is the highest by any mobility company in sub-Sahara Africa.
Adetayo is arguably one of the top Tech Nigerian entrepreneurs of our day.
PiggyVest is a platform for investment and savings. Odunayo Eweniyi and his team have done a fine job with PiggyVest. PiggyVest was founded in 2016.
Odunayo has grown this startup and has saved over N7 billion and with over N3.6 billion assets.
Odunayo was awarded as the 2019 SME Entrepreneur of the Year at the Wealth and Society West Africa Award.
Odunayo Eweniyi was nominated and won the award as one of the Top 100 Inspirational Women in Nigeria and named one of the top 20 young wealth creators in Africa by Forbes Africa.
Odunayo Eweniyi is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of PiggyVest, and he joins our list as one of the most powerful Nigerian tech entrepreneurs.
Nigeria boasts of having the best young minds in not just Africa, but the world isn’t a fluke, but in reality, these young minds work hard to achieve the feats.
Ezra Olubi who is the co-founder and CTO of Paystack, he is one of the most popular online payment platforms used to complete several e-commerce sites.
Paystack provides the online gateway that makes it easy for merchants to accept credit and debit card payments online from customers.
11. Sim Shagaya – Serial Tech Entrepreneur and Investor Makes His Mark As One Of The Powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs
It takes a lot of guts to invest in tech startups, especially when it involves Nigerian owned brands but Sim Shagaya knows his onions and has done very well for himself and made Nigeria proud.
Not too far back in 2014, he was named by Forbes as one of the most powerful men in Africa. Sim has built a father and mentor reputation for many Nigerian Tech Startups in the tech industry in Nigeria.
Sim has built some of the top tech eCommerce companies like Konga.com, DealDey and E-motion (a digital advertising company).
A true entrepreneur solves a problem, but a tech entrepreneur uses technology to solve the problem faster, and this is why Temie Giwa-Tubosun the CEO of LifeBank has excelled.
Her innovative ideas have made it easier for patients and those in need of blood to get it quicker and safer for use.
She’s won several awards which include MIT Solve Global Challenge in health category in 2018. She also does deliver oxygen monitoring equipment on demand.
13. Omobola Johnson – Nigerian Minister of Communication and Senior Partner, TL Com and Former
Dr Omobola Johnson was Nigeria’s minister for communication and served from 2011 to 2015. The former minister understood that tech startups in Nigeria need policies and an enabling environment to thrive so she focused her strength and entirety to help make or influence policies to create that environment for all tech-savvy entrepreneurs to thrive in.
Dr Johnson has been instrumental to the successful founding of the Andela’s foundation in Nigeria while she was minister of the federation.
Nothing tears down the growth if tech startups like bad policies and Dr Omobola work in and out of different boards ensuring that favourable policies are implemented which improved the Nigerian Tech Industry.
Ayodeji Aikawe has done a great job to support farmers by developing this AgricTech to raise funds through crowdsourcing investments in agriculture that left every party happy.
The statistics show that since 2017, through the leadership Ayodeji Thrive Agric has been able to raise funds to support over 4,000 farmers using its crowdsourcing model small-scale producers with the resources they need.
Thrive Agric joined other 500 startups to participate in the tech accelerator programme of the Silicon Valley firm.
The Agric-tech company is working on its growth plan to connect with African cities to provide the same model that worked in Nigeria.
Agric Thrive is a thriving Tech company in Nigeria.
15. Ekechi Nwokah and Kunle Olukotun founders of Mines.io
Mine.io is a fintech startup and data analytics company which uses its platform to give credit facilities to its customers.
Ekechi and Kunle were able to turn Mines.IO, Multi-million Dollar FinTech Developing Credit Rating Systems for banks in Nigeria.
This is the destination that gets you to access digital credit for end-users and the emerging markets.
Mines has continued its expansion in Africa, move South America and South-East Asia. The company is also planning to partner with credit institutions to drive financial access to the world all over.
Mines.io has over 500,000 users and has recorded over 900,000 downloads.
16. Ife Oyedele ll, Obi Ozor Founders of Kobo360
Kobo360 is a logistics Tech company that has experienced tremendous growth and are now expanding its operations to other African countries like Ghana, Togo and Cote D’Ivoire.
Plans and strategies are in place to expand its operations and open 100 hubs in Nigeria.
17. Adewale Yusuf – The CEO, Techpremier Media, and Publisher, Techpoint Africa
Adewale Yusuf has been consistent and up to date with the day to day reporting of the events and developments tech ecosystem in Nigeria.
Adewale Techpoint has put in conscious efforts to cover tech news not just in Lagos but Nigeria as a country and the role it plays in telling tech stories of Nigeria to the rest of the world.
18. Mike Adenuga – Founder (Globacom) Has Made His Marks As One Of Most Powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs
Mike doesn’t need any introductions as Globacom too doesn’t.
Mike is one of the most powerful tech entrepreneurs in Nigeria because of what he has done with Globacom over the years by being the main competition for the other foreign telecoms company and was credited to Globacom for the drop of cost of telecommunication services.
Globacom was responsible for the drop in the price of sim card from 40,000 Naira to 200 Naira in less than half of a decade.
Yele Bademosi doubles as an investor and a tech entrepreneur and has helped him to support and helped other young tech startups in the country.
Microtraction is an investment platform that funds Africa’s most remarkable teams with technical founders at the earliest stages of their venture and helps them build an enduring company
Microtraction helps to identify startups with potentials at an early stage that has a well-defined growth-technological path to become billion-dollar companies.
They help these startups to grow and finally introduces them to later-stage investors, and that will get the startups better funding.
Bundle Africa is a social payments app for cash or crypto. We make it easy and fun to send and receive payments using cash like Naira, as well as cryptos like Bitcoin or BNB. It’s safe, fast, fun and free.
20. Juliet Ehimuan – Country Manager, Google Nigeria
Juliet Ehimuan heads Google Nigeria, and Google doesn’t need any introduction. By her position, she makes our list as one of the most powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneur because of her direct involvement with tech development and startups in the country through the Google Launchpad programme.
Mark Essien is one of the exciting Tech Entrepreneurs in the Nigeria ecosystem. And what he has done with hotels.ng is remarkable.
Mark’s internship programmes groomed several of Nigerian’s best software developers and his company’s building in Yaba holds regular community meetups for free.
22. Bosun Tijani and Femi Longe – Co-founders, Co-creation Hub (CcHub) Are Powerful Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs
During Mark Zuckerberg’s’ visit to Lagos in 2016 as he toured the Nigerian Tech ecosystem. Mark’s first point of call was the CcHub which was founded in 2010 and is located in the centre of Yaba.
These pair (Femi and Bosun) have built a top brand with CcHub and has made it the icon of tech investment, startup culture, and policy development in Nigeria.
When they are not mentoring founders and developers, they are deep in discussion with policymakers, helping them navigate the complexities of the brave new world.
If you are a visitor, your trip to Lagos’s budding ecosystem is incomplete without meeting these two and checking out what is happening on 294 Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba.
23. Abdulhamid Hassan and Prakhar Singh founders of Mono
Mono is an API Fintech startup, which is rapidly rising to prominence that was launched in August 2020 and has just secured a $500,000 pre-seed funding from Lateral Capital, Ventures Platform and Golden Palm.
This is a plus for the Nigerian Tech Industry because it will motivate more tech startups in the ecosystem.
Mono objective is to be the go-to financial data infrastructure API platform that will cover Africa and to be the Plaid too in the continent.
Mono offers an easier way to get access to your customers’ financial accounts for account statement, account balance, transactions, account verification and initiate bank to bank payments.
It is no news that Addulhamid Hassaan was a manager with Paystack and Prakhar Singh founded Transferpay.ng
24. Jason Njoku – Co-Founder iRoko Partners
iRoko Partners was launched in December 2010 when Jason couldn’t find Nigerian movies online for his mom’s entertainment.
This gap motivated Jason and co-founded iRoko Partners with Bastian Gotter. It has been an incredible journey since it started.
Jason is the co-founder of iROKO Partners, an African focused media streaming platform known for its innovative thinking in exploiting a previously unexplored market.
Within six months from the launching of iROKOtv, it got over 500,000 registered users which was a huge success.
iRoko Partners is the largest Youtube partner in Africa and has bought over 500,000 movie licenses, and are the largest distributor of Nollywood content in the world but are currently facing some rough patch.
ForLoop Africa is recognized as the largest developer community in Africa. This developer community was founded in Nigeria by some of the finest software developers and professional tech entrepreneurs.
This group of smart tech developers were led by Ridwan Olalere, Prosper Otemuyiwa, Ire Aderinokun, and Christopher Nwaba, in 2016.
Growth has seen Forloop spread across Africa and has created the unique platform for the tech ecosystem across Africa to interact and share knowledge and to connect thereby creating the right environment and opportunities to partner and advance each other’s startups and careers.
The criteria used for this selection of the 25 most powerful Nigerian tech entrepreneurs are based on the research and traction gotten a return of investment (ROI), Forbes entrepreneur listings, the Future Award Prize for Africa, etc.
There are several tech startups in Nigeria waiting to get into the big boys’ league, and in our next publication, we will try to capture some of the finest startups in Nigeria.