“I knew that whatever I wanted to do had to pass the big idea test.” For Tayo Oviosu, 39, that big idea was Paga, now the largest distribution network for financial services in Nigeria, reaching more than 6 million people.
For Oviosu, the premise behind his company is simple: “We’re not trying to replace the bank; our goal is to help make it easier for people to get paid. We are building a payments and digital bank, and our vision is Pan-African, but Nigeria is the first point. We want to bank the unbanked in Nigeria.” But a decade ago, when he returned home from the U.S., he had a different plan. With experience working at Cisco Systems and a degree from Stanford Business School, he would clock five years at a private equity firm, launch a business and then move into the venture capital industry.
The steps were laid out — until Oviosu quit his private equity job six months in. “I had always said the day I consistently stop enjoying my job is the day I quit,” he says.