A bright light shines on Africa

Business a.m. - - FRONT PAGE - Sto­ries by Saviour Adugba

NEWS BROKE THIS WEEK that Stripe, a United States tech com­pany known specif­i­cally for dig­i­tal pay­ments in Sil­i­con Val­ley has ac­quired Nigerian tech startup, Paystack in a mouth-wa­ter­ing deal ru­moured to be in the re­gion of $200m...

NEWS BROKE THIS WEEK that Stripe, a United States tech com­pany known specif­i­cally for dig­i­tal pay­ments in Sil­i­con Val­ley has ac­quired Nigerian tech startup, Paystack in a mouth-wa­ter­ing deal ru­moured to be in the re­gion of $200m.

An­nounc­ing the deal in an of­fi­cial blog post, Paystack co-founder, Shola Akin­lade said, “I’m thank­ful to share that Paystack is join­ing the Stripe fam­ily. We’ll be ac­quired by Stripe to ac­cel­er­ate on­line com­merce across Africa, pend­ing stan­dard clos­ing con­di­tions, in­clud­ing reg­u­la­tory ap­provals.”

Con­firm­ing the news, Pa­trick Col­li­son, the CEO of Stripes gave credit to the growth of the African tech ecosys­tem say­ing, “I couldn’t be more de­lighted that Paystack will be join­ing us at Stripe. The African tech ecosys­tem is ex­pand­ing very rapidly. We and the Paystack team are ea­ger to in­vest in a big way over the years to come.”

This news im­me­di­ately drew ap­plause from key play­ers in the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem and be­yond.

Ac­cord­ing to mul­ti­ple an­a­lysts that re­acted, this ac­qui­si­tion sends pos­i­tive sig­nals about the tech ecosys­tem in Africa.

Not­ing the im­por­tance of this deal, Rebecca Enon­chong, a Cameroo­nian tech en­tre­pre­neur and CEO of Los-An­ge­les-domi­ciled Apps Tech said, “The Paystack ac­qui­si­tion will have a rip­ple ef­fect across our en­tire ecosys­tem. In­vestors are get­ting a pay day! This is ma­jor!”

The ac­qui­si­tion also high­lights the po­ten­tial of the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem and the African tech ecosys­tem as a whole. It helps prove to gov­ern­ments and reg­u­la­tors that if the right poli­cies and en­vi­ron­ments are pro­vided, young Africans have what it takes to play on the global stage.

Ja­son Njoku, a se­rial tech en­tre­pre­neur in Nige­ria, com­ment­ing on the deal noted that the ac­qui­si­tion was the “deal of the decade.” Stat­ing that, it shows the po­ten­tial of the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem. “The deal of the decade,” Ja­son Njoku tweeted on his of­fi­cial Twit­ter han­dle.

“Shola Akin­lade and Ezra Olubi have just crys­tal­lized what Nigerian tech­nol­ogy can do. I couldn’t be more hap­pier for the en­tire team. Paystack is a very very spe­cial com­pany,” he con­tin­ued.

Cor­rob­o­rat­ing this claim, Taiwo Oyel­eye, a tech con­sul­tant while speak­ing with Arise Tv on the ac­qui­si­tion said, “This (the deal) helps shine the light in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion. (It means) that we are hard­work­ing, ded­i­cated, com­mit­ted peo­ple who are largely good peo­ple. He noted that the global mar­ket is driven more by per­cep­tion than re­al­ity, and as such, a pos­i­tive out­look on the coun­try is im­por­tant to drive growth.

It also has to be noted that it is very im­pact­ful when global play­ers like Stripe pick an in­ter­est in star­tups on the con­ti­nent; it helps bring much-needed at­ten­tion to the con­ti­nent in a pos­i­tive light. In a con­ti­nent and a na­tion that has been cast in the neg­a­tive light for so long, the im­por­tance of pos­i­tive at­ten­tion can­not be overem­pha­sized.

Not­ing this im­pact, Aubrey Hruby, an Africa-fo­cused in­vest­ment ad­vi­sor when speak­ing to Al­lAfrica. com re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of deals like this to the African ecosys­tem as a whole. She said, “Steller ex­its such as this bring global vis­i­bil­ity to the African en­tre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tem and show in­vestors that they can get a re­turn on their early in­vest­ments.”

Paul Gra­ham, a renowned Amer­i­can Com­puter Sci­en­tist also recog­nises the role that the ac­qui­si­tion of Paystack will have for other Nigerian and by ex­ten­sion African tech en­trepreneur­s. In a conglat­u­ra­tory mes­sage posted on twit­ter, Gra­ham said, “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Paystack, who are paving the way both for the 60,000 users they’ve built in­fra­struc­ture for, and for other Nigerian founders, who’ll find it eas­ier to raise money once in­vestors re­al­ize what a rapidly grow­ing mar­ket Nige­ria is.”

Dare Obasanjo, a part­ner group pro­gramme man­ager at Mi­cro­soft, in his own sub­mis­sion re­ferred to Stripe’s ac­qui­si­tion of Paystack as a “mas­sive val­i­da­tion of the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem.” In his own words, Obasanjo said, “Stripe big­gest ac­qui­si­tion ever is a Nigerian pay­ments startup, Paystack, for $200M. This is a mas­sive val­i­da­tion of the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem and a good re­minder why Face­book & Mi­cro­soft now have en­gi­neer­ing of­fices down there.”

The most ex­cit­ing as­pect of the ac­qui­si­tion how­ever is the fact that it will lead to more Sil­i­con Val­ley in­vest­ment in dif­fer­ent parts of Africa. Many in­vestors and or­gan­i­sa­tions alike will look to­wards Africa now in their in­vest­ment quests. As Iyan­uoluwa Aboyeji, a co-founder of Flut­ter­wave seems to agree with this no­tion when he said that the ac­qui­si­tion of Paystack by Stripe is “a sure sign of what is pos­si­ble” in the African tech ecosys­tem.

Flut­ter­wave, an­other pay­ments com­pany in the Nigerian tech ecosys­tem echoed the im­por­tance of the Stipe-Paystack in its of­fi­cial con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sage. “Con­grats to the Paystack team, this is amaz­ing, and a great step for the Fin­tech Com­mu­nity in Africa!” a state­ment on Flut­ter­wave’s of­fi­cial han­dle read.

Ezra Olubi, Paystack

Shola Akin­lade, Paystack

Pa­trick Col­li­son, CEO Stripe

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