I'm Tayo Oviosu, Founder & CEO of Paga, ask me anything :)


I love Paga. I use Paga. I enjoy Paga. I just used it now. I have two questions/suggestions.

  1. I look forward to Paga having USSD integration for all operations too so the services can be enjoyed without internet connection
  2. We are a company looking into integrating paga as one of our payment options in our upcoming technology. How do we get the API to be able to integrate with out device. Thank you


This is apt.
Those who believe know you and believe in you will get words across to those they know that are in dire need of the services/products you render.

continues reading :slight_smile:


Hi Tayo, great to have you here! Since we are allowed to ask you anything, here are a couple of questions: 1. What’s the current financial value of Paga in your most conservative estimates; 2. Can you give a ballpark figure of how much money Paga processes annually? 3. Are you ever considering listing Paga on the NSE?


Hi Tayo,
Thanks for taking time out for to interact. And to all contributors, thanks for the witty questions and comments.


hi @Ndianabasi thanks for joinig the conversation…we have learned a lot along the way and I wish I could say we planned everything. We’ve had to be nimble and pivot sometimes. It took us:

761 days to get to our first 500k users,
989 days ==> 1m
348 days ==> 2m
219 days ==> 3m

We had a clear strategy we employed on our agent network and decided early on that would be the core foundation of Paga and the vision we set out. The agent network is the hardest part of our business and our strategy continues to pay off. Unfortunately this is a business where your MVP needs to be a fully working product. Bells and whistles you can add later but the core products we have today are what we had when we launched other than deposit to bank accounts.

In terms of infrastructure this is another place we have not gone light. We invested in infrastructure. We have two live datacentres and there is not a single piece of equipment that does not have a failover. Interestingly the one thing that has always worked the way I expect it is our datacentre. I don’t worry about Paga’s systems going down - we share a wall with Stanbic IBTC datacentre to give you a sense. We take this and security VERY seriously.

Regarding M-Pesa, if you go back and measure our growth and their growth at the same period (first 3 years) you’d be amazed to see we actually grew faster. This is even though M-Pesa, with Safaricom, had 90%+ dominance in the voice business. Paga on the other hand for the first 2 years was not connected to the largest mobile operator in Nigeria for something as basic as SMS…fun times, we will blow the Kenya story out of the water soon…we are in for a long game not the short headlines.


Er, there is Kenyans on Radar. Just saying :sweat_smile:


hi @Emperor I did say ask anything and I did say I’d do my best to answer…sorry can’t answer the question on financial value…wish I knew actually :slight_smile:

In terms of how much we processed, last year, Paga processed 6.6million transactions worth over N68bn. We will certainly blow past that this year, but not ready to share where I think the year will end…


but Kenya is the size of just Lagos on GDP…just saying… :slight_smile:


While I was briefly in Nairobi, I observed that to Kenyans, spending and transacting via mobile money is just as natural, if not more natural, than using cash. And it’s not just that everyone has it, it’s also that practically all merchants and services accept it. I know you don’t like the term “mobile money”, so I’m not calling Paga that. But could someone in Nigeria live for 30 days on just Paga?

I visited the weekend when Safaricom was moving their MPesa servers from Germany to Kenya, and there was a day of downtime over the weekend. People were literally freaking out. That’s how embedded the service has become.


@Emperor - It would be a dream come true to list on the NSE!! Maybe a dual listing with NASDAQ! I would love to see a broad range of Nigerians be able to participate in our business and hope we do one day. Talking about the NSE, we recently had the former head of the SEC, Aruma Oteh, recently invested in Paga! She is a big fan of Paga and definitely wants us to list on the NSE!!


Hi @nimboya This really warms my heart to read! On behalf of our 208 person team, thank you for using Paga!!!

We now have USSD on three of the big four networks and will be rolling out USSD soon - this year - watch this space for that!

In terms of APIs to integrate into your technology we have a number of things I am really proud of especially our Paga Connect platform. This allows for one-click payments and can be integrated into any web or mobile application. Checkout the Solo View music app on the android store to see what we’ve done there. Feel free to email me and I’ll get you connected with the team - tayo at pagatech dot com


Hi @onyeka the first thing to know is that Paga is designed ground up by Nigerians. Our Chief Technology Officer, Eric Chijioke, is Nigerian. It is a complete coincidence that he ended up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and we have a team of 20 Software Engineers there working hard on implementing designs from our Product Innovation team based in Lagos. Our goal is to build an engineering team in Nigeria and we’ve already made steps towards that. Last year we hired a Junior Software Architect who is Nigerian, moved him to Ethiopia with the intent to move him back to Nigeria to lead our team here. But trust me we are big believers in Human Centered Design so all the innovation is done locally listening to our customers and seeing them first hand…

I believe the crop of developers in Nigeria is improving and that is also why I like companies such as Andela who are working to ensure we can have a solid crop of developers. Soon enough we will have developers here…


@lordbanks rome wasn’t built in a day. We are on a long journey to achieve ubiquity on payments. We will get there…but also don’t overstate the Kenya story. Most commerce still occurs outside of M-Pesa.


Hello Tayo,

Really good stuff with Paga.

Can you touch on the startups you’re currently investing in as an angel and what areas or problems are you looking for entrepreneurs to solve, ones that you’ve not seen and willing to invest in - fintech or otherwise?

Secondly, can you quickly share tips on how you navigated all the regulations and bureaucracy in the mobile money/payment terrain?



Hi @TomiWalker thanks for your questions!

Innovation is at the core of Paga - we are creatives around here…and we are big believers in Human Centered Design principles. We have a lot planned for Paga and because we are playing a long game we have a roadmap we keep attacking. One of our biggest advantages is that we own our own platform which allows us to innovate as we see fit…

We are definitely a payments company! Q.E.D

It is too early in our lifecycle to consider spinoffs or acquisitions…as we grow, definitely. I used to work at Cisco Systems in acquisitions and venture, so I am definitely a believer in growth by acquisitions - I’ve seen it work!


Hi Tayo,

Really great to see Paga still going strong.

I’m curious about what active users are paying for on Paga. “DStv” (cable/satellite TV subscription)? Mobile phone airtime? What percentage of transaction volumes and active users is Money Transfer responsible for?

And finally, does Paga need an “eBay” to scale?



Okay time for @OoTheNigerian’s questions - you are our biggest fan so I must address each

  1. Not forcing Cardless ATM Withdrawals on all the banks. Think about sending money on Paga and the recipient picks it up at an ATM. I would have added paying by mobile wallet on POS but we are piloting that this year so that is happening already.

  2. The one thing I expected by now was that I could pay at a POS with money in my Paga account. It is about to happen but I wish it moved faster.

  3. Nice one…can’t say, but I can tell you we will be announcing a major financing soon…

  4. The best way to champion is to help each other. Jason Njoku of Iroko was at my office yesterday and the collaboration between Iroko and Paga is a great example. We help each other by sharing ideas on how we are tacking problems and the day to day of the business - not just about our businesses collaborating (which we are), but on the practical things - how do you do X or Y, how do you handle this issue. I wish more founders made time for that kind of honest and open discussion…

  5. Senegal and Angola. If I spoke french I won’t even think about it, I’d be in Senegal. Beautiful country, things work…Angola is the oil story, there must be more people are not paying attention to…

  6. I spent over an hour on saturday watching on Youtube an interview of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Their strategies were very different and yes, Bill was wealthier, but Apple anyday - MAC over Windows. Interestingly though, I think Android over IOS. Android is perfecting the model Windows started - create an OS for ANY device. However, open source from day 1 was brilliant! That took it to another level - then not wasting time to create their own hardware! Fantastic idea! I use a Google Nexus and love it!

my guy you know my heart is with Calabar food and I love me some good Afang…


Hi @Chizaram_Ucheaga thanks for joining the discussion…airtime is actually one of our smaller volume/value transactions. Through May Airtime accounted for 14% of our transaction volume and 1% of value…so for Paga most people are using us to pay for products and services and that is one of the places we continue to see fantastic growth…


@oviosu thanks for sharing really good wisdom

One question - How are you positioning Paga to compete effectively against the international players (paypal and stripe) who are likely targeting africa as the final frontier?


@aniediudo good to have you on…our growth is where we expect it - money transfers and bill payments…as I just said in another post airtime is not the strongest for us and we are actually okay with that because there are so many alternatives there.

Our “eBay” is our agent network…this is the bedrock of what will differentiate us from others and allow us to reach the vast majority of Nigerians faster than anyone else. With the agent network we have the distribution to offer services to Nigerians in their local communities. We will do this in partnership with banks and other service providers. That network will spur innovation as well as others develop services around it…