Techcabal takes a look at 21 of the country’s tech entrepreneurs who are at the top of their game and are making some serious waves in the tech space.
They have demonstrated effective management capabilities, defined the local ecosystem, set its pace, and have remained relevant in the fast evolving space.
In no particular order, they are:
Tayo Oviosu — Paga
Tayo is a Stanford-trained professional and former business development manager at CISCO. He is the founder of Paga, a Nigerian mobile money operator.
Paga was founded early 2009 and presently has over a million subscribers utilizing its mobile money services for daily transactions.
Valentine Obi — eTranzact
A vastly experienced IT professional, Valentine Obi is the founder and CEO of eTranzact, a local multi-application and multi-channel electronic transaction switching and payment processing platform. Launched in 2003, it has evolved into a multinational brand, rolling out products in 6 other countries including South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and United Kingdom.
eTranzact is a publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a fully paid up capital of 4.2 billion shares.
Sim Shagaya — Konga
Nigeria’s e-commerce frontrunner, Konga is just one of the many startups Sim is involved with. Sim is a serial entrepreneur and a vastly experienced tech professional, with over 10 years experience in new media and investment banking. Sim has worked at Google, Microstrategy and RealNetworks.
Sim’s Konga has a ~$90 million in funding’s South African-based Naspers and Kinnevik.
Jason Njoku — iRoko Partners
Jason is the cofounder of iROKO Partners, an African focused media streaming platform known for its innovative thinking in exploiting a previously unexplored market. iROKO Partners started in December 2010 when Jason, a chemistry graduate from the University of Manchester, couldn’t find any Nollywood movies online for his mother. He identified a huge gap in the delivery of local content online and founded the company with Bastian Gotter in 2010. iROKOtv reached 500,000 registered users within 6 months of it’s launch.
Today iROKO is the largest Youtube partner in Africa, with over 500,000 movie licenses purchased. It has over 14 million hours of media content on its license rights and more than 800,000 registered users, making it the largest distributor of Nollywood content globally.
Abasiama Idaresit — Wild Fusion
Abasiama Idaresit is the founder of Wild Fusion, a digital marketing firm. Abasiama is a London School of Economics alumni. Wild Fusion, founded in 2008 with a $250 seed fund, was Abasiama’s response to “how the Internet could help transform the business landscape in Nigeria.” In August 2013, Abasiama made Forbes‘ list of ‘Ten African Internet Millionaires to Watch’.
Wild Fusion is also the first Google Certified Adwords Partner in Ghana and Nigeria.
Funke Opeke — Mainstreet Technologies
Funke is the CEO of the MainOne Cable Company. After a twenty-year career in the United States, where she was the Executive Director at Verizon Communications Wholesale Division. She moved to Nigeria to work as the Chief Technical Officer at MTN Nigeria Communications (MTN). She also advised Transcorp on the acquisition of NITEL (Nigerian Telecommunications Limited) and briefly served as the interim Chief Operating Officer, post-acquisition of NITEL,.
She founded Mainstreet Technologies, developer of MainOne Cable, a submarine communications cable stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria.
Florence Seriki — Omatek
Florence Seriki went from being a computer tutor to selling computers to high-end clients 22 years ago. She had her BSc. in Chemical Engineering. Her company, Omatek is the first Nigerian IT firm to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Mike Adenuga — Globacom
Currently the second richest man in Africa, with net worth of $4.6 billion, Mike Adenuga is the founder of Globacom.
Globacom was registered as the fourth mobile operator in Nigeria in 2003, and swiftly rose above other telcos in Nigeria to battle with MTN. It has been credited with driving down the cost of telecommunication services in the country.
Glo is also the very first company to roll out the submarine fibre optic cable from the UK. The project cost more than $800 million.
Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh — Zinox Technologies
Leo Stan Ekeh set up Zinox Technologies Limited in 2001 as a means to fill the gap of manufacturing computers locally. Zinox is Nigeria’s first internationally certified brand of locally made computers.
With his first company, Task Systems Limited, Leo computerized 95 percent of the print media, publishing houses and advertising agencies in Nigeria, winning several industry awards.
Mitchell Elegbe — Interswitch
Mitchell Elegbe used to lead the group marketing and business solution at Telnet Nigeria in 2001. It was there that he conceived the idea to build a system that will enable electronic transaction. A year later, Elechi founded Interswitch.
Today, Interswitch not only has the infrastructure for online, real-time transaction switching and payment processing, its shared infrastructure has been adopted by banks, government agencies and corporate organizations to accelerate growth while reducing cost of operations.
Helios Investment Partners, International Finance Corporation and Adlevo Capital acquired over 60 percent of the company’s shares in 2010.
Abiola Olaniran — Gamsole
Olaniran is the founder and CEO of Nigerian gaming and entertainment company, Gamsole.
Founded in 2012, the venture is backed by 88mph, a Kenyan seed fund and accelerator. The company’s games now have more than 9 million downloads both locally and internationally on the Windows Phone store.
He’s one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 for 2015.
Chika Nwobi — L5 Lab
Chika Nwobi is the founder and Managing Partner of L5Lab, a Nigerian incubator and investor.
Before L5Lab, Chika was co-founder of MTech, a multi-platform digital solutions firm with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast.
Ayodeji Adewunmi — Jobberman
Ayodeji Adewunmi is the CEO of Jobberman, a company he co-founded in 2009 while in university. Jobberman is the leading employment websites in Nigeria and Ghana and has become one of the most recognised internet brands in Nigeria and consistently rated as one of the most innovative technology companies in Africa.
He holds a BSc. in Medicine & Surgery from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
Nnamdi Ezeigbo — Slot Systems
Nnamdi Ezeigbo is the founder and CEO, Slots Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s biggest phones and gadget outlets. Nnamdi holds a BSc. in Computer Science.
Slot started from a small space in Lagos-Ikeja computer village in 1998 as a sales and maintenance company for computers, computer accessories and other electronic gadgets. Slot pioneered GSM sales in Nigeria and currently has its head office in Lagos with 20 branches nationwide.
Austin Okere — Computer Warehouse Group
Austin Okere is the Group Managing Director of Computer Warehouse Group, Lagos.
A 1986 graduate of Computer Science from the University of Lagos, Okere used to work sales and marketing at Inlaks Computers Ltd, an ICT and infrastructure solutions provider, before he founded Computer Warehouse Ltd.
The company is into the supply and maintenance of computer hardware and ancillary equipment.
Mark Essien — Hotels.ng
Mark Essien, a software developer, and an expert in web and mobile development, is the founder of Hotels.ng, an online hotel booking network.
Hotels.ng raised $225, 000 in seed funding from Jason Njoku’s Spark.ng in 2013. As at April 2015, Hotels.ng had over 6, 707 hotels on its network.
Mark is on Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 2015.
Stanley Jegede — Phase 3 Telecom
Stanley Jegede is the CEO and co-founder of Phase 3 Telecom.
He worked as a Business Analyst in the United Kingdom between 1997 and 1999 and later joined Verizon Communications (Formerly Bell Atlantic) USA, in 1999 to 2002 as a Senior Business Analyst. In 2003, Jegede helped found Phase3 Telecom, a firm licensed to offer National Long Distance transmission services using fibre optics within Nigeria.
Phase3 Telecom is the main driver of Nigeria’s Wire Nigeria (WiN) project, a scheme designed to deliver broadband services across all states of Nigeria.
Obinna Ekezie — Wakanow
Obinna Ekezie is the CEO of Wakanow.
He’s a former professional basketball player who played in the NBA and other leagues.
During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Obinna launched Wakanow.com. It has become one of the fastest growing and largest internet travel sites in Africa.
Adebola Akindele — Courteville Business Solutions Plc
Adebola Akindele is the Founder and Group Managing Director of Courteville Business Solutions, a Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed company in the ICT sector.
Bola began his professional career in 1987 as an audit intern at KPMG. He joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) two years later, where he rose to become a Treasurer/Financial Controller of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS). Bola has the distinction of being the only African on EPDI’s Advisory Board.
In 2004, Bola opened Courteville Investment Limited to offer corporate finance services and business process reengineering consulting to organizations. Courteville recieved the Nigerian Financial Technology Award in 2012. They were also given the NSE Corporate Governance award for being one of the top 5 corporate governance compliant companies that is quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the same year.
Editi Effiong — Anakle
Editi is the Managing Director of Anakle Limited, a media marketing and services development company, located in Lagos, Nigeria.
Anakle is best known for Bride Price, an app that calculates the users’ value or worth based on answers to a series of ranked questions.
Dele Odufuye — Tsaboin
Dele Odufuye is the MD/CEO of Tsaboin Tech World, a firm that provides value added services and solutions on various technology challenges.
In 2008 and 2009, Dele was awarded ‘Best Use of Technology’ at The Future Awards (now called The Future Africa Awards).
Two years ago in 2013, Tsaboin Tech World released ‘Traffic Talk’, an Internet-based social utility that will help road users beat the traffic in Lagos state, Nigeria’s commercial hub.