TAYO OVIOSU: PAGA Founder Transforming Lives With Mobile Phones

BY OJIE KING

“ Ideas and Innovation change the world”

If you have not yet checked it, I would urge you to check out the Guy Kawasaki post and watch the video. In it, he says that if one wants to be truly successful as an entrepreneur, the starting mission should be to the DESIRE TO CHANGE THE WORLD AND MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE and not to make millions of dollars. Of course, we all dream of having companies that will be worth or invariably make us millions of dollars, but the starting mind-set should not be so. This hit home for me because as my mind did a brief flash of firms like say Apple, Beats, Microsoft just to name an obvious few, they were born out of the idea to make lives better or to add value to the lives of their users and not necessarily to made billions and billions of dollars.

Now, that brings me to Tayo. From the frustration he felt from carrying around too much cash in Nigeria (as he had been in the USA for years), he realized a NEED that Nigerians did not really have access to financial services and instead are often forced to carry out large amounts of cash. So, noting that about 20% of the Nigerian populations have 60% walk around coverage, the IDEA came about from wondering whether the mobile phone can be used a primary medium by which Nigerians can make transactions. Fast forward 6 months, with funds from friends, family and US venture capitalist, Tim Draper (little wonder whether the mad men’s Don Draper are related?) of Draper Fisher Juvertson, he set up PAGA, a mobile phone payments firm whose vision is to “to transform lives by delivering innovative and universal access to financial services”. Note that the mission started with “transform lives by…” That is how, according to Guy (who is a venture capitalist by the way, so he knows what he is talking about) the mindset of a start-up should be.

PAGA allows Nigerians to transfer cash across the nation instantly, just by a single text. Operating a PAY-PAY like service, it allows customers to pay bills, top-up credit and purchase goods with their mobile phones. PAGA, currently with very little sales and marketing (and not yet profitable) has amassed over 600 agents in 15 cities across the country and currently over 60,000 users. In just 12 months, the firm has been able to process about  $4million. The firm offers deposits and withdrawals free but for cash transfers, charges 250 Naira ($1.60 or £1) on 5,000 Naira and for bill payments, the vendor pays a commission to PAGA. The plan is to expand to insurance and banking products as well once the transfer and bill payments section have been fully rolled out.

As you can see, born out of the idea to change the world (well, in this context, Nigeria), this firm is already on its way to being a success if it can do this in 12 months, imagine what it will do in five years from now. For an in-depth info on Tayo check here

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. bladefox says:

    One more person showing there’s hope for Nigeria

  2. Dola says:

    Ojie King. You’re such a brilliant writer. You keep me glued to the last ‘.’. Keep it up!

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