As the protest against SARS and bad governance continues, despite the fire for a change keeps burning due to the Nigerian youths being tired of the situation of things in the country, hope comes from the least expected place as Stripe acquires Paystack, a Nigerian-owned payment solutions company servicing around 60,000 customers including betting companies, small businesses, large corporations, Fintechs and so on.
The acquisition of Paystack would help accelerate the growth of stripe and enhance its reach into emerging markets such as the African space. Stripe, valued at $36 billion, has been increasing its geographical reach as before the latest acquisition, it added 17 countries to its platform in the last 18 months.
The acquisition of paystack stretches beyond just the geographical representation.
The acquisition was also based around how well paystack has been built as a payment solutions company and the inputs of original thinking demonstrated by paystack. Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi, the founders of paystack whose company got acquired for $200 million, two bonded in the university and decided to work towards a company modelled like stripe.
Their story was simple: Stripe for Africa and this story, coupled with action, got them to be the first Nigerian company to get into the Y combinator. The y combinator is an American seed money startup accelerator and has been used to launch over 2,000 companies.
The goals and achievements of these young folks symbolise the modern dreams and goals of the Nigerian youths. One of the founders, Ezra Olubi happens to be on dreadlocks and this proves that the fact being on dreadlocks doesn’t make one a fraudster or criminal and this implies how wrong the lens used by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad is. The rise of Ezra has shown that you don’t judge people by their looks.
The acquisition of paystack is a win-win situation for the founders of paystack and paystack. Apart from the monetary benefit for the founders, the expansion for stripes, what paystack gets to benefit from the acquisition is probably more, including funding and technical knowledge.
The acquisition of paystack has, however, generated a spotlight for the brand during the period of #ENDSARS and showed how capable youths can be whenever given the chance.
The question worth asking is if the win situation for the founders is also a win worth celebrating for Nigeria and its entrepreneurs? In the short run, it is a great win and also helps put Nigeria on the map as more investors would be interested in these emerging markets but in the long run, how sustainable would it be for them to invest in Nigeria ventures if the environment itself is not favourable. A favourable environment is needed for entrepreneurs to strive.
Having an environment that can produce more paystack or better startups and businesses than paystack is the direction that should be explored by the government and other stakeholders in the business ecosystem.
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