Building the Future, with Ngozi Dozie: The paradox of focus for African entrepreneurs

On this episode of Building the Future, we have Ngozi Dozie, cofounder at One Finance (OneFi).

OneFi is a platform that provides access to finance by leveraging data and technology. One of their major products is Paylater, a lending mobile app which enable people to get access to short term loans in Nigeria as quickly as possible.

Ngozi  has an interesting background: He has a First Class degree in Physics from Imperial College London; MSc in Computation from Oxford University; and MBA from The Wharton School.

Before he started his business, he had a career as a finance man. He used to be an investment banker with JPMorgan, a risk consultant with Arthur Andersen UK, and worked as a financial analyst with Deloitte.

But now, Ngozi wears many hats as an entrepreneur. He is involved in several other businesses such as Cafe Neo, a coffee chain with outlets in Lagos and Kigali.

A large franchise of Mr. Biggs quick-service restaurants in Nigeria and a company that processes and export coffee from Rwanda.

On this episode, we spend a bit of our time time talking about the opportunities and challenges in running multiple businesses at the same time, and the paradox of focus for African entrepreneurs.

While listening to this, you’ll learn:

  • Why Ngozi thinks running many different ventures may not be the wisest decision for anyone to make.
  • 3 major ways to invest in growth companies – private equity, venture capital and venture building.
  • Ngozi’s theory on how building companies from scratch is easier to do than trying to scale an existing business.
  • How his parents built Diamond bank.
  • The risks involved in giving small unsecured loans to individuals which Ngozi believes is the same with lending to companies or individuals with higher net worth. A surprising statistic: Paylater’s rate of non-performing loans is arguably lower than that of commercial banks.
  • Why he left Wall Street and quit his job working in investment banking to start over again in Africa.
  • The future of lending and credit in Nigeria.
  • His biggest pain point running his businesses and the growth metric he measures.
  • The importance of solving real/big problems as a startup in Nigeria right now. Opportunities that abound in logistics, healthcare, power, etc.