Tayo Oviosu

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Tayo Oviosu is the Founder and CEO of Paga, Nigeria’s leading mobile payment service. Tayo has over sixteen years of experience in a variety of technical and business roles in High-tech and Private Equity. Most recently, he was Vice President at Travant Capital Partners where he was responsible for executing the firm‘s investment strategy in West Africa.

Tayo graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California though, he worked several jobs too sse him complete his college education. While studying engineering, he was in love with semiconductor chip design which he recalls was the most difficult subject as his time in college.

He got a job right after graduation at a startup designing digital imaging chips that could capture images the way the human eyes do. One day, he said, his boss called him to the office and said he had to let him go, barely 3 months into the job.

He struggled for a while after his sacking, worked in a mail-room, a call centre, and did anything to make ends meet. He was also collecting employment benefits from the state of California.

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Prior to joining Travant, Tayo was a Manager, Corporate Development, at Cisco Systems in San Jose California. In that role, he was responsible for strategy, acquisitions, and private equity investments in four technology sectors – Virtual Computing, Application Networking, Security, and Network Management. Tayo also helped lead Cisco‘s investment expansion in Africa. At Cisco, Tayo led numerous acquisition and private equity investment opportunities, including the $130m acquisition of Reactivity, and investments in Aquantia (10G Base-T, Series A), and Guardium (Database Security, recently sold to IBM). Tayo was also responsible for the private sale of 22% of Cisco‘s South African operations to a consortium of investors in 2007.

Prior to Cisco, Tayo was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice. At Deloitte he worked on cases in five industries – high tech, telecom, pharmacy retail, government, and healthcare. He was primarily responsible for leading technical implementation teams. Tayo also had stints at start-ups Biomorphic VLSI as a Semiconductor Chip Design Engineer, and Event411 as a Software Engineer.

Due to the challenges at the time, such as inefficiency of the banking system, which includes little or no online presence, almost non-existent branches in rural areas, as well as long hours one had to spend at the bank; and the large percentage of Nigerians without bank accounts or any link to a bank, Tayo founded Paga; a full-service payments and digital financial services provider in 2009, and in the first six months of operations, he funded the company from his personal savings.
Later on, he got funding from Goodwell-Alitheia Capital, after which more investments came following Paga’s full operating licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2011.
Paga now has about 11,000 agents, more than 6 million customers on its platform. The company also offers services that helps business make and receive payments online.

Outside of work, Tayo is passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship across various sectors. He believes entrepreneurship is a major driver of sustainable change and growth across the continent. This passion has led Tayo to work with entrepreneurs to develop their ideas as an Angel investor and adviser. He is currently an investor and adviser in ReelFruit, a Nigerian fruit processing agribusiness; and ChopUp, a mobile gaming start-up. He is also an Ambassador for Junior Achievement – working with one of the largest non-profit youth groups, to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

Alongside Paga’s numerous achievements, Tayo has been nominated for the West African Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2013 All African Business Leaders Awards.