I’m Tayo Oviosu, founder of Paga. Ask me Anything - Wednesday Sept. 2 2020

I’m Tayo, Founder/Group CEO of Paga. Paga is a mobile money operator licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Paga offers a range of services such as free money transfers, deposit to bank accounts, buying/sending of airtime, bill payments, remittances, bulk disbursements & collections that are accessible via our online channels (web/app) and on any basic mobile phone via dialing *242#. We have opened up our APIs to developers to innovate upon - www.paga.dev.

Paga is also the largest distribution network for financial services in Nigeria through its nationwide agent network - mom and pop stores, pharmacies, grocery stores - where people can get access to financial services.

I’ll be hosting an “Ask Me Anything” session on Community this Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 from 12noon - 1 pm WAT. The session will focus on my work at Paga as well as my journey to creating and growing a new category in the financial services sector of Nigeria and now taking the learning from here to build the same model in new markets. I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge of mobile money and technology with you. Ask me anything!”


You can start sending in your questions for @oviosu. He’ll reply them as soon as the AMA kicks off on Wednesday, September 2 2020 from 12-1 p.m. WAT.

Ok, thank you

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  1. What were you doing in your Undergraduate days? The reason I ask this question is because as a technology enthusiast, studying information systems in FUTA, I do have this subconscious sense of urgency that time is going and the more I discover there is along way to go.

  2. Were you an expert in all the tech fields as related to your company and how were you able to bring your team together.

  3. What was the motivation of your team members that made them work for/with you?


I want to learn the following…

  1. To become a programmer.
  2. To build apps .
  3. How to code mails and text messages to different people just like the way you sent us differently through mail.
    Pls where can I learn this and how much time does it take to learn .

Hello Tayo,

What - what markers - would you say I should look out for when considering setting up a business?

How do I start the process of venture capital sourcing?

I know that sense of urgency. However, you also have to put in the time and effort to learn and grow. Post school working in a company and building your skills is very important. The most successful entrepreneurs started their businesses in their mid forties. I think the reason this is the case is because they have learned how to lead people, sell ideas, and manage a P&L.

In school I focused on my studies while working, at times 5 jobs, to put myself through school. I learned to write code mostly on my own though I did take classes in DBase, Cobol (I’m old) and C++.

What motivates people to work with me? I’m not sure to be honest. I would love to know but this I know, I’ve been incredibly lucky to have some amazing people come work with me and buy into the vision and purpose of Paga! I feel incredibly honored by this and do not take it lightly.


Hi Irene, thanks for the question. I think the first thing is to focus on what change you wish to make happen and why? Once you figure out what you want to achieve and most importantly why then I think it is about if you are ready to go on that journey. Ready in terms of your personal confidence in running the long marathon of entrepreneurship. Leading people, selling your idea, and managing a growing company.

In terms of capital, when you start out, you most likely need to focus on people who know you and who believe in you. These are the people most likely to invest in you. This is also why I suggest to people not to rush into starting a business. Build your career, capability, and network first. Prove yourself in a chosen field first. It would make it easier for others to follow you and invest in you.


Hello @oviosu Happy to have you here. Here is my question. If you could share only one lesson or take away from your 11 years building Paga, what would it be?

Hi @oviosu. You’ve obviously achieved a lot in your life and career, but what is one problem you’re still trying to solve?

Hello @oviosu, thanks for doing this. What is your favourite shortcut or hack?

Thanks, Yusuf. Great question. In summary, my biggest learning is that people and relationships are what make a company succeed. That is hard work, but this is what you need to go far. Focus on hiring the best talent who are aligned with your values and “how we do things around here” (this is culture). Then give them wings to fly. This is also true of your investor relationships. How you manage those is vital to your success. As my favorite African proverb says “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”


Hi Sammie…I’m still trying to get all Nigerians to use Paga vs cash. Working on it… :slight_smile:


Hi @oviosu it’s a pleasure to have you here. Quick question, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received???

Hello, @oviosu.

In 2015, you were quoted saying “I’m always raising”. Paga hasn’t raised since 2018, should we expect ‘good news’ soon ???

Can you explain in detail how Paga is able to offer free money transfer while we know that banks and telecoms charge to load money.

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Second question @oviosu, how did paga get its first 100 customers? and if you were to start all over today, how would you go about getting your first 100 customers?

Hi Titilola, thanks for the question…I think my favorite hack is responding to emails right away. This is good and bad. The good is I rarely have a lot of emails I am yet to respond to…the bad is two fold, a) if I don’t respond immediately, you likely have to chase me up; b) sometimes I have second thoughts about what I wrote. I’ve learned to pause more though so now if I think this email requires more time I add it to my to do list. Luckily many of the To do list apps now tie in with email apps so it is easy.

In addition to this is archiving all my email and trying to achieve inbox zero.

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Hello @oviosu,

You graduated from USC and Stanford GSB. Did those qualifications matter when you were raising during your angel round or was it your professional experiences that made the difference ?

In the same vein, how would you advise a Nigerian fresh out of college with ~ the same educational background as you to go about creating investor buzz around ones venture ?

I know you mentioned ‘Build your career, capability, and network first. Prove yourself in a chosen field first. It would make it easier for others to follow you and invest in you.’. We all know successful corporate career != successful entrepreneurship career, besides one might not have a solid network in Nigeria, or one might just want to scratch that entrepreneurial itch while still young, eager and able to positively savour setbacks. If one falls into this category, where would you tell this person to go to in Nigeria, in order to network/build/test ideas with similar minded people ?

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