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  Shola Akinlade is a name synonymous with entrepreneurial success in Nigeria and beyond. He is the co-founder and CEO of Paystack, a leading online payment platform that revolutionized the way businesses in Africa get paid. But Akinlade’s journey is not just one of triumph, it’s also a testament to resilience, overcoming challenges, and never giving up on a dream.
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Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Akinlade’s entrepreneurial spirit shone through early. While still a student at Babcock University, he co-founded his first company, Klein Devort, a software development and consulting firm. Akinlade excelled in his studies and eventually earned a degree in Computer Science from Babcock University. However, finding a job after graduation proved to be difficult. This experience, coupled with the frustrations faced by businesses when trying to receive online payments, sparked the idea for Paystack. In 2015, Akinlade teamed up with his old schoolmate, Ezra Olubi, to co-found Paystack. Their vision was simple: to build a platform that would make it easier for businesses in Africa to accept online payments. With limited resources and a team of just two, they began building their dream.
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Despite facing numerous challenges, Paystack quickly gained traction. The platform’s user-friendly interface and robust features resonated with businesses of all sizes. By 2016, Paystack was selected to participate in Y Combinator, the prestigious startup accelerator. This recognition not only provided Paystack with crucial funding but also gave it invaluable exposure and mentorship. Paystack’s growth continued to soar, and in 2020, the company was acquired by Stripe, a global payments giant, for a staggering $200 million. This acquisition marked a significant milestone for the African tech ecosystem, demonstrating the immense potential of innovative solutions developed on the continent. However, Akinlade’s ambitions extend beyond Paystack. He is invested in using technology to drive positive change in Africa. In 2022, he founded Sporting Lagos F.C., a football club that aims to not only develop talented players but also serve as a platform for community development and social change.
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Akinlade’s journey has not been without its challenges. He has faced numerous setbacks, from funding constraints to regulatory hurdles. However, he has always tackled these challenges head-on, demonstrating remarkable resilience and determination. Featured Image Source: Punch Newspapers
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This article was first published on 13th December 2023


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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