In 2015, Shola Akinlade set out to make software and services needed for merchants in Africa to accept online payments from local and international customers and that adventure is now distinguished as a trailblazer in the African fintech industry.
Born in Lagos, Shola Akinlade is a Computer Science graduate of Babcock University, Nigeria. He went to St. Gregory’s College for his secondary education and after his university education, he specialized in
database management and spent years working on a software called Precurio. It was during the period of developing this software that he realized that there was a huge gap in the digital payment market in
Africa and he decided to do something about it. With his technical skills and with his co-founder, Ezra Olubi, he started to build a payment system
efficient and custom for Africa’s internet money transaction; a platform that now serves over 17,000 businesses, and process over processes over 50% of all web payments in Nigeria. A platform that, most remarkably, has now been acquired for more than $200million by its giant lookalike, Stripe.
“We started Paystack because we believe that better payments tools are one of the most important things that African businesses need to unlock their explosive potential. We think of Paystack as an amplifier of the incredible work that African business owners are already doing. With better technology tools, African businesses can be better equipped to play a growing role in the global economy,”
Before this the American company, founded by brothers Patrick and John Collison a decade ago, had led an $8 million Series A founding round for Paystack two years ago. Stripe officially announced the conclusion of an agreement to acquire Paystack on Thursday, October 15, 2020. By acquiring the Nigerian fintech, Stripe is planning its expansion in Africa where “online commerce in the region is growing 21% year-on-year, 75% faster than the global average,” according to the team. Paystack will continue to operate independently, growing their operations in Africa and adding more
international payment methods and
“Paystack has achieved in just five years what many companies could not achieve in decades. This acquisition gives Paystack the resources to develop new products, support more companies, and consolidate the hyper fragmented African payments market,”
Matt Henderson, Sales Manager for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Stripe
The African internet economy is growing quickly, with online commerce in the region growing 21% year-over-year, 75% faster than the global average. Paystack provides Africa with a secured platform to accept both online and offline payments through payment channels such as ATM cards, mobile money, USSD, QR code, and more. It is a fine product that contains “APIs and tools to enable merchants accept payments in African Markets”.
“We believe deeply that with the right tools, African creators, developers, and entrepreneurs can do incredible things. Leveraging Stripe’s resources and deep expertise, we’re excited to accelerate our geographic expansion and introduce more payment channels, more value-added services, and deeper integrations with global platforms.”
This iconic development, the biggest startup acquisition in Nigeria so far, has not gone unnoticed by the tech community and startups in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Amidst the #EndSARS movement, a surging protest against police brutality in Nigeria, Paystack gives young Nigerians a $200 million worth of reason to be hopeful for the future of Nigeria as a safe space for dreaming and making history. Congratulations, Africa! Keep shining your light.
By Abiola Makinde