Paystack alumni have founded over fourteen African startups

From fintech to on-demand food delivery, former employees at Paystack have founded at least fourteen African startups.

Paystack alumni have founded over fourteen African startups
A few members of the Paystack Team

A few weeks ago, news broke that four former Paystack employees, with at least six years at the company, departed to launch "GoLemon," a grocery and household delivery startup.

"Paystack is a big example," said Yinka Adewuyi, CEO of GoLemon, who joined the fintech company as a customer success expert in 2017. "One that's close to home, of something that was created in Nigeria by sheer will and force. And the impression that Paystack has always left on me is that there's an opportunity for many more things to work. And like you know, the best way to predict the future is to (attempt to) invent it."

In 2016, Shola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi launched Paystack, a fintech startup offering payment tools specifically designed for African businesses.

A significant milestone came in November 2015 when Paystack became the first Nigerian company accepted into the Y Combinator Accelerator program. As Shola Akinlade, Paystack's co-founder and CEO, remarked, "Y Combinator was a game-changer. It opened doors for our small team and gave us a real chance to improve the payments landscape in Nigeria."

By 2018, Paystack had secured a total of $10.4 million in funding, solidifying its position as a major player. Often referred to as the "Stripe of Africa," Paystack's success culminated in a landmark acquisition by the American payments giant Stripe in 2020 for over $200 million.

Adewuyi and his colleagues, Gbadegbo Gbade-Oyelakin, Abdulrahman Jogbojogbo, and Abiola Showemimo, all early members of the Paystack team, are part of a growing trend. They're not alone in their entrepreneurial pursuits. The African tech scene is witnessing a wave of alumni from established startups venturing to launch their startups. Recently, Ted Oladele, a former vice president of design at Flutterwave, founded Mira, a platform offering order management and payment systems for hospitality businesses.

"A lot of African startups are designed to be intrapreneurial. Hence it gives room for employees to work like they can own their businesses," Aderonke Salami, an HR consultant told

So far, at least twelve former Paystack employees have co-founded around nine startups, primarily in the fintech and delivery sectors.

Mono + Voyance

In 2019, Abdulhammid Hassan's Nigerian startup, OyaPay, faced closure. Launched after his return from France, the company ended due to disagreements with a key early investor, who also happened to be his uncle. Hassan quickly transitioned to Paystack, taking on a product manager role. But the entrepreneurial itch returned, and just 11 months later, he co-founded Voyance, a startup focused on data infrastructure.

Hassan's drive didn't stop at Voyance. He left the company to join forces with Prakhar Singh, a colleague he met there. Together, they launched Mono, a fintech startup that provides APIs that give businesses user-permission access to their customers’ bank accounts. Their beta version went live in August 2020, with Hassan leading the company as CEO and Singh handling the technical side as CTO.

In 2021, Mono was backed by Y Combinator. The company has since raised at least $17.5 million in total funding with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Kenya.


In May 2020, Mallick Bolakale began working as a financial crimes compliance consultant at Paystack. Eight months later, he was promoted to lead the unit. After two years, Bolakale left Paystack to co-found a startup, Startbutton with Kelechi Oti in 2022.

Oti has also worked at several African startups including Appzone, Terragon, Renmoney, and Kobo360. She serves as Startbutton's CTO.

Startbutton is a “merchant of record” that enables businesses to accept payments in local currencies and manage local compliance without needing to establish local offices. Currently, the startup operates across five African markets—South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.

Due to Bolakale's background, the startup also offers a compliance-as-a-service feature. Paystack, his former employer, has since partnered with the startup for its merchant expansion programmes.


A year after leaving Paystack, Idorenyin Obong teamed up with Joseph Femi Aghedo, a former colleague at the Nigerian design firm Check DC, to launch Grey. Previously known as Aboki Africa, Grey is a fintech company that provides digital foreign accounts for Africans, allowing them to send and receive international payments.

L-R: Idorenyin Obong and his co-founder at Grey

Grey secured its first round of funding in November 2021, with the amount undisclosed. Notably, the round was led by Hassan, the co-founder and CEO of Mono, another Paystack alumnus. Later in 2022, Grey participated in the Y Combinator accelerator and went on to raise a $2 million seed round.


Emmanuel Okeke's career at Paystack was a fast track. In just one year, he rose from senior software engineer to engineering manager and then software technical lead, the position he held until his departure in May 2020.

A month later, Okeke co-founded Brass alongside Sola Akindolu. Brass caters to small and medium-sized businesses with a comprehensive suite of financial tools. This includes credit and payment processing, payroll and expense management, API access, cash flow analysis, team and client management features, and core business services like point-of-sale systems, debit cards, and credit cards—all integrated within a dedicated business bank account.

The fintech currently serves over 5,000 customers; from educational institutions and shopping centres to restaurants and tech startups like Eden and Mono. The fintech startup has raised at least $2 million in funding, Ezra Olubi, co-founder and CTO of Paystack is one of its investors.

Related Article: Paystack CEO is building a football empire


Innovations by Paystack alumni expand beyond Nigeria. After his two years at Paystack, Jimmy Kuassi, a Beninese software engineer launched Moneco, a neobank targeting the migrant communities in Europe, starting with the African diaspora.

Kuassi co-founded the fintech alongside Bilal Dahlab and Shams Radjabaly. This isn't his first foray into entrepreneurship. Before Moneco and his time at Paystack, Kuassi co-founded CoinAfrique and DevEngineLabs, demonstrating a strong commitment to building innovative solutions.

In 2022, Moneco was accepted into the Y Combinator Summer 2022 batch.


The Y Combinator Summer 2022 batch wasn't a one-hit wonder for Paystack alumni. Femi Aluko and Olumide Ojo, early engineering talents from Paystack, also joined the ranks with their startup, Chowdeck.

"Paystack is family. Paystack built and trained me. I’m happy I passed through Paystack. Every single era in Paystack prepared me for the problems I’m solving today. I’m leaving Paystack to build Chowdeck because I can’t combine both anymore," Aluko wrote in an article announcing his departure from the fintech.

Chowdeck is an on-demand food delivery service and marketplace where people can purchase their favourite meals from a wide range of restaurants. In November, the YC-backed food delivery startup revealed a monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) of ₦1 billion ($1.2 million). Chowdeck operates with approximately 1,300 riders across the four Nigerian cities where it serves about 60,000 active users.

Alvative + Avere Energy

Many of these founders, like Ikechukwu Obi, started their journeys as early employees. Obi joined Paystack in its infancy (around July 2017 with just 20 employees) and climbed the ranks from technical product specialist to integration lead. Two years after leaving, he struck out on his own, founding Alvative, a company that connects African startups with junior tech talent.

The company has offered its services to several startups including Paystack.

Obi also founded Avere Energy, a cleantech startup that is building micro-hydro energy projects to power African homes and businesses.

Numero + Squareme

In November 2016, Oluwaseun Odusanya assumed the position of key account manager—another early employee. He held this role for two years before departing to become the head of product at Patricia. Following a two-year tenure at the crypto startup, Odusanya went on to establish Numero, a business bank for entrepreneurs.

Oluwaseun Odusanya

A year later, Odusanya founded another startup—Squareme. Its primary focus is on streamlining and enhancing everyday financial transactions, enabling individuals to harness their connections to achieve financial independence.


Cossi Achille Arouko's entrepreneurial journey began with the founding of two startups, Oyapay and Skylar Labs, where he held the CTO position. He then joined Paystack as a senior software engineer and left after three years.

In April 2022, Arouko embarked on a new venture by co-founding Bujeti. This Y Combinator-backed company tackles financial management for African businesses by providing corporate cards and spend management tools. Bujeti has already secured over $2 million in funding.


[Check the intro of the article]


In the early days of Paystack, Douglas Kendyson served a multifaceted role as a customer success expert and software engineer; driving user acquisition for both developers and end-users, providing technical and general customer support, and contributing to product planning and team management using scrum methodology. He also built integrations with third-party banks and services, along with plugins and libraries compatible with various content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, Magento, OpenCart, Drupal, PrestaShop, and AbanteCart.

Following eleven months at Paystack, Kendyson transitioned to Flutterwave as a software engineer, working on the now-defunct Barter platform. He later rose to the position of intern manager before departing in 2018. After that, he continued his engineering career at two other companies.

It's worth noting that during his time at Paystack, Kendyson established Selar, an e-commerce platform empowering creators to sell digital products like ebooks and courses.

Selar has partnered with industry leaders like PayPal and Stripe, in streamlining the payment process for creators. In 2023, the fully bootstrapped company facilitated over ₦4 billion (approximately $4.4 million) in payouts.

Editor's Note: Our Paystack alumni's startup database is a work in progress! We're actively seeking information on additional ventures founded by former Paystack employees. If you have any leads, feel free to share them with us at [email protected].

Thinking beyond Paystack? We're expanding our horizons! If you lead the people & culture or communications team at an African startup, we'd love to collaborate on compiling a similar listicle for your startups.

Get weekly insights on tech startups and VC in Africa

Join Us On Telegram